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Presented  to  the 

LIBRARY  of  the 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO 


SCOTT  THOMPSON 


THE  GLASGOW   POETS 


THE 

GLASGOW   POETS 

Their  Lives  and  Poems 


EDITED    BY 

GEORGE   EYRE-TODD 

Author  of  "  The  Skctch-Book  of  the  North,"  "  Byways  of  the  Scottish  Border, 
"  Scotland  Picturesque  and  Traditional,"  <fcc. 


GLASGOW    AND    EDINBURGH 

WILLIAM  HODGE  &  COMPANY 
1903 


William  Hodge  &>  Co.,  Printers,  Glasgow  and  Edinburgh 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE  GLASGOW  POETS     .        .        .        .        .        •        •        •  J 

ZACHARY  BOYD 9 

Joseph  Tempted I2 

TOBIAS  SMOLLETT  .        .        ; 26 

The  Tears  of  Scotland 29 

Ode  to  Leven  Water 3* 

Ode  to  Independence        .         .         .         •         •                  •  32 

The  Fatal  Shafts 37 

DOUGAL  GRAHAM 3& 

The  Turnimspike       .         .         .         .         •         •         •         •  4° 

John  Highlandman's  remarks  on  Glasgow         ...  42 

ROBERT  COUPER     .                47 

Red  gleams  the  sun 4^ 

Red,  red  is  the  path          .         .         .         .         .         •         •  4$ 

TheSheiling 49 

MRS.  GRANT  OF  LAGGAN •  51 

O  where,  tell  me  where  ?                   .         .         •                  •  53 

Could  I  find  a  bonnie  glen 55 

Leave  me  not 5^ 

On  a  sprig  of  heath 57 

The  Grampians 59 

JOHN  DUNLOP 6° 

The  year  that's  awa' 61 

Dinna  ask  me 62 

Lady  Frances  Stewart       .......  62 

JOHN  MAYNE 64 

The  Siller  Gun 66 

Glasgow    .....«••••  73 

The  Winter  sat  lang          .  

Logan  Braes 88 


viii  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

JOANNA  BAILLIE 9° 

Good-night,  good-night! 93 

Saw  ye  Johnnie  comin'? 94 

It  fell  on  a  morning 95 

Poverty  parts  good  company  ......  97 

Wooed  and  married  and  a' 99 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  . 101 

Lines  to  Agnes  Baillie  on  her  birthday  ....  103 

ROBERT  LOCHORE Io8 

To  the  Rev.  Thomas  Bell no 

Marriage  and  the  care  o't 1 12 

A  Young  Kintra  Laird's  Courtship H3 

WILLIAM  REID "6 

Cauld  Kail  in  Aberdeen n8 

Fair  Modest  Flower.         .         .         .         .         .         •         .119 

Sweet  lovely  Jean     .         .         .         .         •         •         «         .119 

John  Anderson,  my  jo  .  .  •  •  •  .120 

Kate  o'  Cowrie 121 

The  Lea-rig 123 

JAMES  GRAHAME 125 

The  Sabbath 127 

The  Merle 129 

JOHN  STRUTHERS 132 

The  Winter  Day 134 

THOMAS  CAMPBELL 141 

Hohenlinden  .........  146 

The  Exile  of  Erin 147 

Ye  Mariners  of  England 149 

Lochiel's  Warning 150 

The  Battle  of  the  Baltic  .  .  .  .  v  .  .  .154 

The  Last  Man 157 

The  Soldier's  Dream 160 

To  the  Evening  Star 161 

Lord  Ullin's  Daughter 161 

WALTER  WATSON, 164 

Sae  will  we  yet         ........  165 

The  Widow 166 


CONTENTS  ix 

PAGE 

JOHN  FINLAY 168 

O  come  with  me       ........  168 

Isabella 170 

ALEXANDER  RODGER 172 

Robin  Tamson's  Smiddy 174 

Behave  yoursel'  before  folk        .         .         .         .         .         .176 

The  Answer  . 178 

JOHN  WILSON 181 

The  Evening  Cloud  183 

To  a  Wild  Deer 184 

ANDREW  CRAWFORD 187 

Conscience 188 

A  glance  ayont  the  grave  .  .  .  .  .  .189 

JOHN  DONALD  CARRICK 190 

The  Harp  and  the  Haggis.  .  .  .  .  .  .192 

WILLIAM  GLEN  .........  195 

Wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie 198 

The  Highland  Maid 200 

To  the  memory  of  John  Graham  of  Claverhouse  .  .  201 

JOHN  BRECKENRIDGE      ........  203 

The  Humours  of  Gleska  Fair  ......  204 

THOMAS  LYLE 209 

Kelvingrove 211 

Dunoon  ..........  212 

JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART 214 

Captain  Paton's  Lament     .         .         .         .         .         .         .216 

Bernardo  and  Alphonso  .  .  .  .  .  .  .221 

JANET  HAMILTON 224 

A  Ballad  of  Memorie         .......  226 

Effie— A  Ballad 229 

WILLIAM  MOTHERWELL 233 

Jeanie  Morrison  . 336 

The  Cavalier's  Song 240 

The  Solemn  Song  of  a  Righteous  Heart  .  .  .  241 

'My  held  is  like"  to  rend,  Willie 244 


x  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

WILLIAM  MOTHERWELL — continued 

The  Mermaiden 247 

The  Song  of  Harald          .         .         .         .         .         .         .248 

ROBERT  POLLOK 253 

Hail,  holy  love ! 255 

WILLIAM  CAMERON 260 

Bothwell  Castle .  260 

The  Gowan  Lea 262 

WILLIAM  CROSS 263 

The  Dainty  Bit  Plan 264 

GEORGE  JACQUE 267 

Hark  how  Heaven  is  calling    ......  268 

GEORGE  OUTRAM 270 

The  Annuity .         .  271 

DUGALD  MOORE .        .        .  276 

To  the  Vitrified  Fort  in  Glen  Nevis          .         .         .         .278 

HENRY  GLASSFORD  BELL 281 

Mary  Queen  of  Scots 283 

THOMAS  BRYDSON 290 

All  lovely  and  bright 290 

ANDREW  PARK       .........  292 

Silent  Love 293 

Hurrah  for  the  Highlands 296 

JOHN  STUART  BLACKIE 297 

A  Song  of  the  Country 298 

Chinese  Gordon         ........  300 

WILLIAM  MILLER 301 

Willie  Winkie 302 

John  Frost 303 

The  Sleepy  Laddie 304 

ALEXANDER  HUME 305 

The  Scottish  Emigrant's  Farewell 306 

My  ain  dear  Nell      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         •  307 

NORMAN  MACLEOD 309 

Dance,  my  children  .         .         .         .         .         .         .         ,310 

Trust  in  God                               , 311 


CONTENTS  xi 

PAG& 

JAMES  HEDDERWICK 3J3 

By  the  Sea-side 3J5 

JAMES  NORVAL 3J8 

The  March  Win' -  3*9 

MARION  PAUL  AIRD 322 

Far,  far  away 323 

The  Auld  Kirkyard .324 

PHILIP  JAMES  BAILEY 32^ 

Scene  from  "  Festus  " 327 

HUGH  MACDONALD  ....  ...  333 

The  Bonnie  Wee  Well 335 

SIR  W.  STIRLING-MAXWELL,  BART 337 

Rizpah -338 

In  memory  of  H.  A.  S.     .         .         .                  .         .         -  34O 

W.  J.  MACQUORN  RANKINE 341 

The  Engine-driver     ........  343 

THOMAS  ELLIOTT 345 

Clyde  Boat-Song 346 

Up  with  the  dawn    ........  347 

JAMES  LITTLE 349 

Scotia's  Shore •  •  349 

COLIN  RAE-BROWN  .  .  .  .  .  .  •  •  351 

Secrets 35* 

Old  Time 353 

JAMES  NICHOLSON .  .  354 

Imph-m .  356 

JOHN  YOUNG 358 

My  First  Breeks -359 

JAMES  P.  CRAWFORD 361 

The  Drunkard's  Raggit  Wean 362 

DAVID  WINGATE 364 

My  Little  Wife 366 

ALEXANDER  SMITH 369 

Glasgow 372 

JAMES  MACFARLAN  ........  377 

The  Lords  of  Labour 382 


xii  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

JAMES  MACFARLAN — continued 

The  Watcher 383 

The  Ruined  City 384 

JAMES  H.  STODDART 387 

The  Blacksmith's  Daughter 388 

JOHN  NICHOL .        .        .  390 

Mare  Mediterraneum          .......  392 

ALEXANDER  FALCONER 394 

Wedded  Love 396 

DAVID  GRAY -398 

Why? 400 

If  it  must  be  ?    .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .  400 

The  Conception         . 401 

His  Epitaph 403 

WILLIAM  BLACK     .        . .404 

Eylomel 406 

To  Lily  F .         .406 

Adam  o'  Fintry 407 

ROBERT  BUCHANAN 409 

The  Ballad  of  Judas  Iscariot       .         .         .         .         .         .412 

WALTER  C.  SPENS 418 

In  the  Chamber  of  Death 419 

ALEXANDER  G.  MURDOCH 422 

The  Burns  Monument,  Kilmarnock    .         .         .         .         .  423 

ROBERT  WALKER 427 

Crillon  the  Brave 428 

JOHN  GILKISON 430 

The  Lament  of  Dougal  Macgregor 431 


By  the  same  Editor. 

The  Book  of  Glasgow  Cathedral. 

Ancient  Scots  Ballads,  with  their  Traditional 
Airs. 

The    Abbotsford    Series    of    Scottish    Poets. 
7  vols. 

Songs  of  Caledonia.     Words  and  Music. 


The  Glasgow  Poets 

IT  would  be  an  interesting  study  to  discover 
whether  town  or  country  is  more  congenial  to 

the  production  of  the  "maker."  The  country 
indeed  possesses  all  those  appeals  to  the  senses — the 
sights,  sounds,  and  scents  of  nature — which  are 
popularly  supposed  to  offer  the  first  themes  for 
poetry.  But  there  is  room  to  question  whether  these 
sights,  sounds,  and  scents  are  most  keenly  and 
consciously  enjoyed  by  him  who  lives  always  among 
them.  The  senses,  after  all,  are  not  our  finest 
instruments  of  perception.  Memory  and  imagination 
remain  more  subtle,  and  project  infinitely  rarer 
pictures  on  the  mind.  So  it  may  be  that  the  clerk 
in  his  city  attic,  with  nothing  in  sight  but  the  roof- 
tops and  the  sky,  has  visions  of  green  lanes  and 
laughing  seas,  meadows  of  blue  forget-me-not  and 
moors  of  yellow  asphodel  that  are  seen  in  no  such 
perfection  by  the  mere  dweller  in  their  midst. 

B 


2  THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Whatever  the  reason,  it  is  surprising  to  find  how 
many  poets  are  born,  or  at  least  discover  their 
genius,  in  town.  Of  this  fact  the  unwritten  record  of 
Glasgow  affords  substantial  proof.  The  city  indeed, 
within  modern  times,  seems  never  to  have  been 
without  makers  of  sweet  or  amusing  song.1 


i  Glasgow  itself  has  been  a  theme  of  poetic  inspiration  from  a 
sufficiently  early  date.  Before  the  year  597  St.  Columba,  the  great 
missionary  of  the  Hebrides,  paid  a  visit  to  the  aged  St.  Mungo  at  his 
cell  on  the  bank  of  the  Molendinar.  In  memory  of  their  converse  in 
that  green  and  holy  place,  the  two  old  men,  it  is  said,  exchanged  their 
staves,  and  Columba  composed  a  hymn.  Of  more  recent  date,  but  yet 
old  enough,  are  the  lines  by  John  Barclay,  minister  of  Cruden,  printed 
in  Skene's  "Succinct  Survey  of  Aberdeen"  in  1685.  They  are 
interesting  for  the  sake  of  comparison  with  descriptions  of  the  city  by 
such  later  poets  as  John  Mayne,  John  Wilson,  Alexander  Smith,  and 
Robert  Buchanan. 

Glasgow,  to  thee  thy  neighb'ring  towns  give  place. 
'Bove  them  thou  lifts  thine  head  with  comely  grace. 
Scarce  in  the  spacious  earth  can  any  see 
A  city  that's  more  beautiful  than  thee. 
Towards  the  setting  sun  thou'rt  built,  and  finds 
The  temperate  breathings  of  the  western  winds. 
To  thee  the  winter  colds  not  hurtful  are, 
Nor  scorching  heats  of  the  Canicular. 
More  pure  than  amber  is  the  river  Clyde, 
Whose  gentle  streams  do  by  thy  borders  glide. 
And  here  a  thousand  sail  receive  commands 
To  traffic  for  thee  unto  foreign  lands. 
A  bridge  of  polished  stone  doth  here  vouchsafe 
To  travellers  o'er  Clyde  a  passage  safe. 
Thine  orchards  full  of  fragrant  fruits  and  buds 
Come  nothing  short  of  the  Corcyran  woods, 


INTRODUCTION  3 

The  roll  of  these  makers  opens  with  a  picturesque 
figure.  It  was  in  the  time  of  Charles  I.,  and  the 
poet  was  no  less  a  personage  than  the  minister  of 
the  Barony,  the  grim,  perfervid,  brave  old  Zachary 
Boyd.  If  proof  were  needed  that  the  citizens  of 
Glasgow  have  been  by  no  means  Gallios,  caring  for 
none  of  these  things,  it  would  be  enough  to  recall  the 
fact  that  the  manuscript  poems  of  "Mr.  Zachary" 
have  been  carefully  preserved  in  the  University 
library  for  nigh  two  hundred  and  fifty  years. 


And  blushing  roses  grow  into  thy  fields 

In  no  less  plenty  than  sweet  pasture  yields. 

Thy  pastures,  flocks  ;  thy  fertile  ground,  the  corn  ; 

Thy  waters,  fish  ;  thy  fields  the  woods  adorn. 

Thy  buildings  high  and  glorious  are,  yet  be 

More  fair  within  than  they  are  outwardly. 

Thy  houses  by  thy  temples  are  outdone — 

Thy  glitt'ring  temples  of  the  fairest  stone. 

And  yet  the  stones  of  them,  however  fair, 

The  workmanship  exceeds,  which  is  more  rare. 

Not  far  from  thee  the  place  of  Justice  stands, 

Where  senators  do  sit  and  give  commands. 

In  midst  of  thee  Apollo's  court  is  placed, 

With  the  resort  of  all  the  Muses  graced 

To  citizens  in  the  Minerva  arts 

Mars  valour,  Juno  stable  wealth,  imparts. 

That  Neptune  and  Apollo  did,  rtis  said, 

Troy's  famed  walls  rear,  and  their  foundations  laid  ; 

But  thee,  O  Glasgow !  we  may  justly  deem 

That  all  the  gods  who  have  been  in  esteem, 

Which  in  the  earth  and  air  and  ocean  are, 

Have  joined  to  build  with  a  propitious  star. 


4  THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

For  a  century  after  the  time  of  Boyd  there  is  no 
record  of  poetry  in  Glasgow.  Doubtless,  however, 
there  were  makers  of  song  in  the  city  to  keep 
company  with  poets  like  Hamilton  of  Gilbertfield  in 
the  neighbourhood,  and  Allan  Ramsay's  nest  of 
singing-birds  in  the  capital.  At  any  rate  we  know 
that  the  instinct  for  melody  was  by  no  means  absent. 
Stenhouse,  in  his  notes  to  Johnson's  "  Museum,"  puts 
it  on-  record  that  the  lively  air  of  "  Duncan  Gray " 
was  composed  by  a  carter  or  carman  of  that  name 
in  Glasgow  about  the  beginning  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  and  that  the  tune  was  taken  down  from 
his  whistling  it  two  or  three  times  to  a  musician  in 
the  city.  Towards  the  middle  of  the  same  century 
even  the  Glasgow  bellman,  Dougal  Graham,  had 
caught  the  poetic  infection,  and  in  his  own  rude 
fashion  sang  the  city  and  its  ways.  And  from  that 
day  to  the  present  the  record  remains  of  an  unbroken 
train  of  singers. 

The  marvel  is  that  for  so  long  a  time  the  claim 
of  St.  Mungo's  city  to  be  an  alma  mater  of  poets  has 
not  been  fairly  recognised.  In  this  respect  justice 
has  hardly  been  done  to  the  city  by  the  trumpet  of 
fame.  In  the  many  descriptions  of  Glasgow  it  seems 
to  have  been  the  last  thing  dreamt  of  to  consider 
the  town  as  a  place  of  inspiration  for  poets.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  nevertheless,  no  town  in  Scotland, 


INTRODUCTION  5 

excepting  perhaps  Edinburgh  itself,  can  boast  so 
long  and  illustrious  a  roll  of  "  makers."  For  a 
century  and  a  half  the  Glasgow  poets  have  poured 
forth  a  stream  of  minstrelsy,  gay  with  humour,  tender 
with  pathos,  fierce  with  invective,  riotous  with  mirth 
— as  rich  as  it  is  varied,  and  as  brilliant  as  it  is  full 
of  character  and  is  sincere.  Each  of  the  long  train 
has  given  his  share — some  song,  at  least,  that  cannot 
be  forgotten — to  enrich  the  nation's  treasury.  The 
birthplace  of  Campbell  and  Motherwell  and  Henry 
Glassford  Bell,  and  the  home  of  John  Mayne  and 
James  Grahame,  Alexander  Rodger  and  George 
Outram,  William  Miller,  Alexander  Smith,  and  David 
Gray,  with  some  two -score  other  singers  of  note, 
Glasgow  has  no  need  to  solicit  respect  for  her  tale 
of  poetic  achievement. 

Three  collections  of  poetry,  mostly  native  to  the 
city,  have  been  made  in  Glasgow.  Between  the 
years  1795  and  1798  the  bookseller -poets,  Brash  & 
Reid,  issued  from  their  shop  in  Trongate,  in  a 
series  of  penny  numbers,  a  collection  entitled  "  Poetry, 
Original  and  Selected."  Some  of  the  pieces  are 
signed,  and  the  authorship  of  others  is  easily 
identified,  but  many,  after  every  effort,  remain 
anonymous.  The  collection,  when  completed,  made 
four  small  volumes,  which  stand  among  the  prizes  of 
the  book-collector.  In  1832,  again,  was  published 


6  THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

the  first  of  four  series  of  the  delightful  and  enter- 
taining "  Whistle-binkie."  It  was  edited  and  partly 
contributed  by  John  Donald  Carrick,  and  was 
published  by  David  Robertson  from  his  shop  at 
the  foot  of  Glassford  Street.  The  snuggery  behind 
that  shop  was  a  literary  howfF  of  much  the  same 
character  as  Allan  Ramsay's  in  Edinburgh  a  century 
before ;  and  "  Whistle-binkie "  took  shape  there  in 
much  the  same  way  as  the  "  Tea-Table  Miscellany  " 
took  shape  in  the  Edinburgh  resort.  Its  chief  con- 
tributor and  subsequent  editor  was  Alexander  Rodger, 
but  it  contained  some  of  the  best  pieces  of  William 
Motherwell,  William  Miller,  and  other  kindred  spirits. 
The  contributions  were  by  no  means  exclusively 
drawn  from  Glasgow,  but  the  work  of  the  writers 
mentioned  gave  the  characteristic  tone  to  the  pro- 
duction —  a  ring  of  homely  tenderness,  shrewd 
wisdom,  and  pawky  humour,  which  was  as  dis- 
tinct as  it  was  irresistible.  "Whistle-binkie"  keeps 
its  place  as  a  quaint  classic,  and  of  itself,  though  it 
stood  alone,  would  bespeak  Glasgow  a  city  of  poetic 
memories. 

At  half  a  century's  later  date  came  the  volumes 
of  the  Glasgow  Ballad  Club.  For  a  prototype  to 
this  club,  if  it  had  a  prototype,  it  is  necessary  to  go 
back  to  that  Easy  Club  of  the  early  years  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  at  which  the  author  of  "The 


INTRODUCTION  7 

Gentle  Shepherd  "  and  the  other  "  ingenious  gentle- 
men "  of  his  coterie  recited  their  own  verses,  sang 
their  own  songs,  and  in  other  characteristic  ways 
sped  the  jovial  hours.1  Founded  in  1876  by  Mr. 
William  Freeland,  the  Ballad  Club,  during  the 
twenty-five  years  of  its  existence,  has  counted  among 
its  members  most  of  the  men  of  poetic  gift  in  the 
city  and  its  neighbourhood.  Of  the  compositions 
read  before  the  club  two  volumes  have  been  pub- 
lished, under  the  title  of  "Ballads  and  Poems,"  in 
1885  and  1898  respectively.  The  contents  of  these 
remain  as  various  as  the  professions  of  their  authors, 
but  between  the  boards  are  poems — satires,  songs, 
and  narrative  pieces,  light  vers  de  socitt^  kindly 
conceits,  and  impressions  of  country  and  town — 
enough  to,  at  least,  maintain  the  poetic  tradition 
of  the  city. 

So,  it  will  be  seen,  Glasgow  has  had  her  guilds 
of  "makers"  no  less  than  of  other  crafts.  The 
tale  of  her  poetic  production  is  both  ancient  and 


i  Count  is  not  taken  here  of  the  Anderston  Social  Club  of  Glasgow, 
which,  in  the  years  before  Waterloo,  had  among  its  members  such 
poets  as  William  Glen  and  Alexander  Macalpine,  author  of  the  once 
famous  "Mail -Coach."  This  and  other  convivial  coteries  of  that 
time,  described  in  Dr.  Strang's  delightful  book,  "Glasgow  and  its 
Clubs,"  enjoyed,  and  even  kept  record  of,  the  original  lyrics  sung  by 
their  members,  but  they  were  not  literary  clubs  in  the  first  sense 
of  the  term. 


8  THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

honourable.     And  of  her  sons  of  song,  the  long  roll 
is  not  yet  at  an  end.1 


TAs  a  pledge  that  the  inspiration  of  St.  Mungo's  city  has  by  no 
means  become  exhausted,  it  may  be  allowable  to  quote  some  lines 
of  the  very  beautiful  poem  written  by  Mr.  William  Canton  on 
occasion  of  the  centenary  of  the  Glasgoiv  Herald 'vn.  February,  1882: — 

A  hundred  years  ago !     As  in  a  dream, 

All  things  have  changed  along  the  human  stream. 

The  thousand  roaring  wheels  of  traffic  pass 

Where  the  maids  spread  the  linen  on  the  grass ; 

The  mighty  ocean  liners  outward  bound 

Heave  o'er  the  spot  where  windmill  wheels  went  round. 

The  haystacks  of  the  Trongate,  where  are  they  ? 

Where  the  green  meadows  which  produced  the  hay  ? 

Who  were  the  last  vain  lovers  (who  can  tell  ? ) 

That  gazed  beneath  the  alders  at  Arn's  Well  ? 

Oh  !   quaint  arcadian  city  which  appears 

In  the  bright  vista  of  a  hundred  years  ! 

The  ancient  merchant  in  his  scarlet  cloak, 

Grey  wig  and  silver  buckles,  if  he  woke 

From  his  archaic  slumber,  would  he  know 

Th'  Havannah  of  a  century  ago  ? 

In  that  brave  year  of  seventeen  eighty-two 

The  stars  looked  out  of  smokeless  heavens  and  knew 

The  city  by  its  nine  dim  lamps.     At  dawn 

The  glimmering  vapours  from  the  bens  were  drawn, 

And  Lomond  with  a  cheery  face  looked  down 

Through  the  clear  morning  on  the  thriving  town. 


ZACHARY   BOYD 


No  name  is  better  remembered  in  the  annals  of  bygone  Glasgow  than 
that  of  Zachary  Boyd.  Traits  of  his  character  and  tales  of  his  deeds 
and  sayings  have  been  handed  down  by  tradition,  and,  along  with  his 
manuscripts,  the  University  has  preserved  his  portrait  and  his  bust. 
Though  no  longer  a  force  in  the  world  of  letters,  he  was  a  force  in  the 
pulpit  in  his  day.  In  spirit,  no  less  than  in  appearance,  he  presented  a 
striking  likeness  to  John  Knox,  and  of  the  strenuous  Presbyterian 
ministers  of  his  time  —  the  time  of  Charles  I.  and  Cromwell—  he  re- 
mains an  outstanding  type. 

Descended  from  the  Boyds  of  Pinkill  in  Carrick,  a  branch  of  the 
noble  house  of  Kilmarnock,  he  was  born,  probably  at  Kilmarnock,  in 
1585.  He  studied  at  Glasgow  University,  took  his  degree  at  St. 
Andrews,  and  when  twenty-two  years  of  age  passed  to  the  University 
of  Saumur  in  France.  Of  that  University  he  was  made  a  regent  in  1611, 
and  afterwards  refused  the  principalship.  For  four  years,  also,  he  was 
minister  of  a  French  Protestant  church.  In  1623  he  returned  to  Scot- 
land, and  after  a  few  months  was  appointed  minister  of  the  Barony,  or 
landward  parish  of  Glasgow,  a  charge  in  which  he  remained  for  thirty 
years. 

It  was  a  troublous  period  in  Church  and  State,  and  twice  Boyd  came 
into  conspicuous  contact  with  the  rulers  of  his  time.  On  I7th  June, 
1633,  the  day  after  the  Scottish  coronation  of  Charles  I.,  the  minister 
of  the  Barony  met  the  king  in  the  porch  of  Holyrood,  and  addressed 
to  him  a  Latin  panegyric.  Alas  for  that  praise  !  Charles  before  long 
was  pushing  prelacy  on  Scotland,  and  the  name  of  his  panegyrist  was 
signed  to  the  covenant  of  resistance.  And  later,  in  1640,  when  the 
royal  army  was  defeated  at  Newburn,  Boyd  wrote  a  curious  poem  on 
the  subject,  stigmatising  as  a  "beastly  fool"  every  one  who  drew  a 
sword  for  the  cause  of  the  king.  The  second  incident  occurred  in  1650, 


io          THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

Cromwell  had  defeated  Charles  II.  and  the  Presbyterian  army  at 
Dunbar,  and  on  his  progress  through  the  country  had  come  to  Glasgow. 
On  Sunday,  I3th  October,  he  attended  the  Cathedral  instate.  Zachary 
Boyd  was  the  only  one  of  the  magistrates  and  ministers  who  had  been 
brave  enough  to  remain  in  town,  and  he  took  occasion  in  his  sermon  to 
rail  fiercely  against  the  "  Malignants,"  as  Cromwell  and  his  Indepen- 
dents were  called  by  the  Presbyterian  party.  Secretary  Thurlow,  it  is 
reported,  more  than  once  whispered  to  Cromwell  for  leave  to  "  pistol 
the  scoundrel."  "No,  no,"  was  the  General's  answer,  "we  will 
manage  him  in  another  way."  "  He  therefore  asked  the  minister  to  dine 
with  him,  and  concluded  the  entertainment  with  prayer,  which  lasted 
for  three  hours,  even  until  three  in  the  morning. " 

Boyd,  nevertheless,  seems  to  have  taken  no  active  part  in  the  politics 
of  the  day.  His  life  was  almost  entirely  that  of  a  preacher  and  writer. 
Probably  it  was  during  his  residence  in  France  that  he  produced  his 
best  poetical  work,  "  Zion's  Flowers,"  most  of  which  remains  still  in 
manuscript.  The  popular  tradition  ran  that  this  was  a  rendering  of  all 
the  sacred  scriptures  into  verse — "Zachary  Boyd's  Bible."  His  work, 
however,  was  confined  to  a  series  of  twenty-three  episodes,  such  as 
"  The  Historic  of  Jonah  "  and  "  The  Tyrannic  of  Pharaoh."  Selections 
from  the  "Flowers"  were  edited  by  Gabriel  Neil,  and  published  in 
1831  and  1855. 

The  other  work  on  which  the  fabric  of  his  fame  must  rest  is  written 
in  prose.  The  strange  occasion  of  the  production  of  this  work,  ' '  The 
Last  Battle  of  the  Soul  in  Death,"  is  told  by  Boyd  himself.  In  1626 
he  had  been  sick  to  death  of  fever,  and  on  his  recovery  found  in  his  study, 
among  his  books,  the  winding-sheet  which  had  been  made  ready  for  his 
corpse.  This  startling  discovery  set  him  to  describe,  for  the  good  of 
others,  the  soul's  struggle  with  its  last  enemies.  The  book  was  addressed, 
in  English,  Latin,  and  French,  to  Charles  I.  and  his  queen,  and  printed 
at  Edinburgh  in  two  parts  by  the  heirs  of  Andro  Hart  in  1629.  A  new 
edition,  edited  by  Gabriel  Neil,  was  printed  at  Glasgow  in  1831.  Boyd's 
chief  published  works,  besides  these,  were  "The  Battle  of  Newburn," 
reprinted  in  Laing's  "  Fugitive  Scottish  Poetry  of  the  Seventeenth  Cen- 
tury"; "Four  Letters  of  Comforts  on  the  Deaths  of  Lord  Haddington  and 
Lord  Boyd,"  1640,  reprinted  in  1878  ;  "  The  Garden  of  Zion,"  a  series 
of  poems  on  Biblical  subjects  in  1644;  and  his  metrical  version  of  the 
Psalms,  which  reached  a  third  edition  in  1646.  Glasgow  University, 


ZACHARY    BOYD  n 

however,  has  26,000  lines  of  his  works  in  MS.,  a  list  of  the  contents  of 
which  was  given  by  Gabriel  Neil  in  an  appendix  in  1831. 

Not  the  least  interesting  feature  of  Boyd's  life  was  his  connection 
with  Glasgow  University.  He  was  thrice  elected  Dean  of  Faculty, 
thrice  Rector,  and  thrice  on  the  Assembly's  commissions  of  visitation. 
He  was  also  Vice- Chancellor  from  about  1644  ;  and  at  his  death  he  left 
to  the  College  a  large  sum  of  money,  some  ,£20,000  Scots,  with  his 
books  and  MSS.  His  injunction  to  the  University  authorities,  never- 
theless, to  print  his  manuscripts,  has  never  been  carried  out. 

He  was  married,  first  to  Elizabeth  Fleming,  who  died  in  1636,  and 
afterwards  to  Margaret  Mure,  a  daughter  of  Mure  of  Glanderstone. 
From  certain  bitter  remarks  on  women  in  his  writings  it  has  been 
supposed  the  latter  union  was  unhappy.  But  his  extant  references  to 
his  "loving  spouse"  are  kind  and  tender,  and  he  provided  for  her 
generously  in  his  will.  She  was,  however,  much  younger  than  himself, 
and  there  is  a  story  about  her  which  may  stand  for  what  it  is  worth.  When 
he  was  drawing  up  his  "Last  Testament,"  the  tradition  runs,  she 
ventured  to  suggest  that  he  should  leave  something  to  Mr.  Durham, 
minister  of  the  Inner  High  Church.  Zachary's  answer  was  character- 
istic :  "I'll  leave  him  naething,"  he  said,  "but  what  I  canna 
keep  frae  him,  and  that's  your  bonnie  sel'. "  And,  as  if  to  corroborate 
his  surmises,  eight  months  after  Boyd's  death  she  married  Mr.  Durham. 

An  early  memoir  of  Zachary  Boyd  appeared  in  the  "  Christian 
Instructor,"  and  full  accounts  of  his  career  are  furnished  in  the  intro- 
ductions of  his  editor,  Gabriel  Neil.  As  a  prose  writer  he  was  among 
the  clearest  and  most  forcible  of  his  age  in  Scotland.  He  was  one  of 
the  earliest  Scottish  authors  to  express  himself  in  Southern  English,  yet 
his  style  would  do  no  discredit  to  the  best  writers  of  the  present  day. 
The  opening  sentences  in  "The  Last  Battle"  give  a  fair  idea  of  that 
style : — "  My  Bodie  is  sicke,  my  Soule  is  wounded.  God's  wrath  is 
fearefull ;  it  burneth  to  the  bottom  of  Hell.  The  heate  thereof  already 
maketh  my  Soule  to  sweate.  I  can  find  no  Skrine  or  Sconce  to  set 
between  mee  and  this  fire." 

As  a  poet,  on  the  other  hand,  it  must  be  admitted  that  he  is  entitled 
to  no  very  lofty  place.  His  muse  is  apt  to  walk  when  it  should  soar. 
Some  of  his  anachronisms,  too,  are  not  a  little  amusing ;  as  when  he 
makes  the  daughter  of  Herodias  dance  a  strathspey,  and  Joseph  reason 
with  Potiphar's  wife  in  the  words  of  the  New  Testament.  Injustice, 


12          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

however,  has  been  done  to  his  reputation  by  the  quoting  of  nondescript 
burlesque  verses  of  other  derivation  as  "from  Zachary  Boyd's  Bible." 
It  is  certain  he  did  not  succeed  in  his  great  object — the  object  of  all  the 
Reformers  from  John  Knox  to  his  own  time — to  substitute  Biblical 
subjects  for  the  popular  "fables,  love-songs,  ballads,  Heathen  husks, 
youth's  poyson,"  in  the  mouths  of  young  men  and  maidens.  Yet  it  is 
impossible  not  to  respect  the  earnest  spirit  shining  behind  the  verse  ; 
and  as  a  homely  and  didactic  poet  he  is  entitled  to  his  place.  By  far 
his  finest  piece  is  "Joseph  Tempted  by  Potiphar's  Wife."  The  subject 
is  a  delicate  one,  but  it  is  managed  with  no  little  skill  and  dramatic 
instinct,  fine  images  and  descriptions  are  scattered  through  its  lines,  and 
again  and  again  the  verse  rises  to  a  note  of  real  passion.  Though  not 
to  be  compared  with  those  other  "Flowers  of  Zion"  of  Boyd's  con- 
temporary, Drummond  of  Hawthornden,  this  piece,  at  least,  of  the 
Glasgow  poet's  composition  cannot  be  passed  by. 


JOSEPH   TEMPTED 

(From  "Zion's  Flowers") 

Potiphar's  Wife.— 

My  heart  is  like  a  spider  who,  confined 

In  her  web's  centre,  hurried  with  each  wind, 

Moves  in  a  trice  if  that  a  buzzing  fly 

Stir  but  a  string  of  her  thin  canopy. 

I  cannot  tell  what  thing  is  this  I  find 

Both  night  and  day  still  stirring  in  my  mind. 

This  youth  new  come,  he  hath  a  lovely  face, 
Whate'er  he  doth,  it  is  adorned  with  grace. 
He  ruddy  lips  hath,  and  a  smiling  eye, 
His  comely  cheeks  are  of  a  purer  dye 
Than  any  rose,  and,  for  mine  eyes'  delight, 
The  other  parts  are  like  the  lily,  white. 


ZACHARY   BOYD  13 

I  see  in  him,  which  well  affirm  I  can, 

The  rarest  beauties  that  adorn  a  man. 

Him  more  than  all  I  inly  do  admire, 

And  do  him  still  behold  with  young  desire. 

I  do  not  know  what  after  shall  ensue. 

If  I  this  passion  shall  of  love  pursue 

Or  not,  I  doubt.     I  know  not  what  infection 

The  tinder  kindleth  if  this  hot  affection 

Which  fires  my  mind  and  wak'neth  my  desire, 

So  that  my  lust  me  setteth  all  on  fire. 

Desist  I  would,  for  fear  of  world's  shame ; 

Persist  I  must,  though  I  should  lose  my  name. 

Than  death  love's  stronger,  as  we  may  perceive ; 

I'll  rather  die  than  want  what  love  would  have. 

I  jewels  have  that  are  both  rich  and  rare  ; 
I  will  them  have  thick  dangling  on  my  hair. 
Pearls,  rubies,  and  the  topaz  shall  me  deck, 
With  sapphires  hanged  about  my  snowy  neck. 
My  gowns,  pasmented  with  the  richest  gold, 
And  dangling  ribbons  pleasant  to  behold, 
Shall  give  me  lustre.     When  he  hath  me  seen 
Deck'd  like  a  lady,  rather,  like  a  queen, 
His  lust  will  kindle,  and  him  quickly  move 
With  such  a  beauty  to  be  sick  of  love. 

Now  I  will  send  my  Nurse  to  him,  that  he 
May  in  some  chamber  see  me  quietly 
Without  a  witness,  for  a  place  alone 
Is  fitting  most  for  such  temptation. 

Ho,  Nurse,  see  that  in  haste  ye  ready  be 
That  Hebrew  youth  cause  quickly  come  to  me ; 


i4          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

For  to  my  husband  he  must  letters  write, 
Some  secret  purpose  which  I  shall  indite. 
Tell  ye  him  that  I'm  in  the  chamber  here  : 
Let  no  man  know,  but  sound  it  in  his  ear. 

Nurse. — 

I  go,  madam,  according  to  your  will ; 
What  ye  require  I  shall  the  same  fulfil. 
While  ye  were  young,  I  on  my  breasts  you  fed, 
,     And  by  the  sleeves  I  here  and  there  you  led. 
I  you  a  babe  did  dandle  on  my  knee : 
My  heart  is  glad  when  I  your  glory  see. 
I'll  say  no  more.     In  haste  I'll  go  away. 
As  ye  have  spoke  I'll  to  the  Hebrew  say. 

Potiphar's  Wife. — 

This  my  design  requires  great  secrecy. 
My  Nurse,  I  think,  was  fittest  all  to  try. 
She  trusty  is,  she  no  deceitful  will 
Hath  in  her  heart.     She  will  not  me  beguile. 
I  thought  her  fittest  for  to  do  this  thing 
For  me,  her  nursling,  whom  she  up  did  bring. 
She  is  most  faithful,  diligent,  and  chary 
Her  nursling's  errands  to  and  fro  to  carry. 

But  what  is  this  that  in  my  breast  I  feel  ? 
The  thoughts  of  love  still  up  and  down  do  reel 
Within  my  heart.     The  pleasant  comely  face 
Of  the  Hebrew  youth  me  grieves  in  every  place. 
I'm  sick  of  love.     I  have  sure  quaffed  up 
The  brim  and  bottom  of  some  Stygian  cup 


ZACHARY   BOYD  15 

Wherein  some  philtre  kindled  hath  this  fire 
That  makes  my  flesh  burn  with  such  hot  desire ! 

Nurse. — 

Sir,  ye  shall  know,  my  mistress  hath  me  sent 
To  tell  you  that  ye  come  incontinent 
To  write  some  missives  of  great  importance 
Unto  her  lord.     She  minds  you  to  advance 
To  higher  honours,  even  to  bear  her  cup. 
Some  other  things  in  heart  she  hoardeth  up, 
As  I  perceive,  which  ye  will  better  know 
When  she  herself  will  tell  the  same  to  you. 
She  in  her  speeches  still  doth  you  commend. 
She  is  in  grief  if  that  your  finger-end 
But  ache  a  little.     Thus  ye  clearly  see 
How  much  to  her  ye  now  beholden  be. 
Ye  will  be  welcome  when  ye  to  her  go : 
What  needs  me  trumpet  everything  I  know. 

Joseph. — 

I  gladly  hear  what  ye  the  Nurse  do  say. 
I  am  a  servant,  and  I  must  obey. 
Most  willingly  I'll  strive  to  do  her  pleasure ; 
I  of  her  love  deserve  not  such  a  measure. 
Yet  shall  I  strive  that  all  the  house  may  see 
That  I  am  upright,  and  no  guile's  in  me. 
I  for  my  master  and  my  mistress  ever 
Shall  still  be  loyal,  but  a  pilferer  never. 

Nurse,  tell  the  mistress  when  I  this  have  done 
That's  in  my  hand,  I'll  to  her  come  anon. 


16          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Nurse. — 

I  see  indeed  those  things  most  needful  be. 
When  ye  have  done  see  that  ye  follow  me. 

Madam,  as  ye  me  to  the  Hebrew  sent, 
At  your  command  I  went  incontinent. 
As  I  perceived,  my  words  did  much  him  move 
When  I  him  told  of  your  respect  and  love. 
When  he  hath  done  some  things  that  needful  be 
He  then  anon  will  follow  after  me. 

A  gallant  youth  he  seems,  as  I  have  seen. 
As  I  esteem,  he  of  some  lord  hath  been 
The  darling  son  •  but  beggars  by  the  way 
Him  far  from  doors  have  found  and  stolen  away. 

PotiphaSs  Wife.— 

Your  thought  is  mine.     Since  first  I  saw  his  face 
And  civil  carriage  als  in  every  place, 
So  mild,  so  meek,  so  humble,  free  of  scorn, 
I  could  not  think  that  he  was  basely  born. 
Sith  Providence  hath  brought  him  us  unto, 
He  shall  well  know  that  he  hath  not  to  do 
With  churlish  merchants  who,  which  is  a  vice, 
Have  no  respect  to  persons,  but  to  price. 
I  hope  one  day,  when  he  nothing  shall  want, 
He'll  say  our  house  yet  never  breathed  scant. 
Since  I  was  lady  of  this  house  so  fair 
I  never  yet  a  servant  had  so  rare. 
What  say  I  ?     Servant !     Service  to  despatch  ! 
To  any  lady  he  might  be  a  match ! 
I  see  no  man  that  hath  so  comely  face. 
Whate'er  he  doth  it  is  adorned  with  grace. 


ZACHARY   BOYD  17 

Joseph. — 

Madam,  ye  know  I  use  not  to  be  slow. 
What  I  have  done  ye  will  it  well  allow 
When  ye  it  see.     As  soon  as  it  was  done 
I  came  unto  your  ladyship  anon. 

In  everything  as  I  shall  understand 
I  mind  to  do  as  ye  shall  me  command 
Only  and  truly.     It  becomes  me  so, 
As  ye  direct,  either  to  come  or  go. 
It's  not  for  servants  to  be  dainty,  nice, 
And  slow  in  pace,  but  in  a  twinkling  trice 
To  go  to  work,  and  that  in  every  way, 
Ere  crowing  heralds  summon  up  the  day. 

I  hope,  madam,  that  ye  will  not  refuse 
What  I  have  said  for  a  most  just  excuse. 


Potiphar's   Wife. — 

While  I  him  hear  I  wot  not  what  a  grace, 

What  divine  beam  reflecteth  on  his  face. 

If  I  no  children  had  for  to  inherit, 

He  might  be  heir  of  all  I  have  by  merit. 

If  I  were  barren,  as  is  many  a  one, 

He  surely  should  be  mine  adopted  son 

If  Potiphar  himself  were  in  >his  grave 

I  surely  should  no  other  husband  have, 

I  may  this  think,  but  cannot  speak  the  same ; 

It  seemly  is  a  wife  be  veiled  in  shame. 

Young  man,  to  you  my  Nurse  I  quickly  sent 
That  you  should  come  to  me  incontinent. 


i8          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

I  heard  your  reason,  I  will  it  allow : 
I  by  my  Nurse  each  circumstance  do  know. 
Some  secret  things  I  must  this  day  indite. 
Come  to  my  cabin  that  ye  may  them  write. 
I  loved  you  aye,  and  yet  I  do  not  vary, 
Therefore  I  here  you  make  my  secretary. 
This  place  is  quiet,  far  aback  from  din ; 
None  will  without  hear  what's  here  said  within. 
This,  this,  and  this  my  husband  write  unto ; 
As  I  indite  you  shall  so  write,  and  so. 


Joseph. — 

All  is  well  written  as  I  do  suppose. 
Is  it  your  will  that  I  the  letters  close  ? 

PotiphaSs   Wife.— 

O  that  this  youth  did  know  my  ladyship ! 

0  that  in  love's  cup  he  would  once  but  sip, 
And  after  that,  carousing,  by  and  by 
Would  all  quaff  off,  and  leave  the  goblet  dry. 
His  rosy  lips  most  gladly  would  I  kiss, 

But  woman's  shame  restraineth  me  from  this. 

1  wonder,  while  such  beauty  here  he  sees, 
That  I  perceive  not  in  his  modest  eyes 
Some  sign  of  lust.     If  favour  could  him  move 
He  clearly  sees  great  tokens  of  my  love. 

If  he  would  look  and  see  me  on  each  side, 
He  would  me  see  adorned  like  a  bride. 


ZACHARY    BOYD  19 

I  farded  have  my  face  with  fard  most  rare ; 
To  fire  his  eye  my  lily  breast  is  bare  : 
Pearls,  rubies,  and  the  topaz  do  me  deck, 
With  sapphires  hanged  about  my  snowy  neck. 
My  gowns  pasmented  are  with  richest  gold, 
And  dangling  ribbons,  pleasant  to  behold, 
Do  give  me  lustre.     He  me  thus  hath  seen 
Deck'd  like  a  lady,  rather,  like  a  queen. 

Yet  for  all  this,  as  I  behold  his  eye 
I  no  appearance  of  his  lust  can  see. 
It  may  be  so  that  all  he  sees  without 
Not  shew  my  mind,  and  therefore  doth  he  doubt 
If  inly  I  him  such  affection  bear ; 
Therefore,  except  he  from  my  mouth  it  hear, 
He  dare  not  well  such  matters  now  propound, 
Lest  that  he  guilty  should  at  last  be  found, 
If  to  my  husband  I  should  shew  the  same, 
And  by  this  means  that  he  should  come  to  shame. 

I  fain  would  speak,  and  tell  him  all  my  mind, 
How  in  mine  eyes  that  he  doth  favour  find ; 
But  oh  !  again  I  blush,  I  cannot  speak ; 
It  seems  the  man  should  from  the  woman  seek. 
That  man  is  doltish,  and  hath  little  skill, 
That  cannot  soon  signs  of  a  woman's  will 
Read  in  her  face,  her  gestures,  and  her  eye. 
What  shall  I  say  ?     For  love  I'm  like  to  die. 

Ho  youth,  the  missives  as  I  do  perceive 
Ye  orderly  them  all  now  written  have 
As  I  desire,  therefore  I  shall  allow 
None  to  write  missives  \  I  will  have  but  you. 


20          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

See  that  the  morrow  ye  go  not  from  home  : 
At  afternoon  unto  my  cabin  come. 

Joseph. — 

I  shall,  madam,  do  as  ye  me  command 

In  everything  that  I  do  understand. 

What  shall  you  please  I  mind  it  still  to  seek ; 

I  wish  I  could  do  better  than  I  speak. 

Now  by  your  leave,  madam,  I  must  go  hence 

T*  o'ersee  the  servants,  that  with  diligence 

They  work ;  for  they  need  more  a  spur  than  bridle. 

It's  sin  and  shame  that  servants  should  be  idle. 

This  woman's  looks  do  lustful  seem  and  vain. 
With  such  a  one  great  danger's  to  remain. 
She's  like  a  tinder-box  to  kindle  fire, 
To  waken  lust  and  foolish  youth's  desire. 

It  is  my  part  at  morn,  and  als  at  even, 
Yea  at  all  times,  to  pray  the  God  of  Heaven 
Me  to  direct,  that  by  her  promises 
And  beauty  she  gull  not  my  simpleness. 
O  Lord,  thou  know'st  that  I  nothing  can  do 
But  what  thy  Spirit  enables  me  unto. 

And  yet,  while  I  such  outward  tokens  find, 
It  may  be  no  such  thing  be  in  her  mind. 
While  we  in  cabin  secret  were  together 
She  not  a  word  that  wanton  was  did  utter. 
Such  is  our  nature  and  our  frail  condition 
That  without  ground  we  often  have  suspicion. 
They  who  in  life  are  still  most  innocent 
Are  least  suspicious  of  an  ill  intent. 


ZACHARY   BOYD  21 

Yet  when  men  see  the  ivy-bush  hang  out 

They  know  the  change-house.    So  at  least  we  doubt 

If  such  be  chaste  whom  we  always  do  see 

So  vain,  so  wanton,  with  a  rolling  eye. 


PotiphaSs  Wife.— 

I  wot  not  what  in  me  is  come  to  pass — 

In  me  this  whilom,  who  most  gladly  was 

Set  to  o'ersee  my  maids  in  business, 

And  now  I  lusk  in  sloth  and  laziness. 

Love's  working  I  not  able  am  to  stanch ; 

The  fire  is  kindled  which  I  cannot  quench. 

This  youth  I  so  do  carry  in  my  mind 

That  I  no  rest  within  my  heart  can  find. 

It  sucketh  sorrow,  and  doth  on  it  feed ; 

I  dizzy  am,  as  fed  with  darnel  seed. 

I  yesterday  had  time,  but  could  not  use  it ; 

I  thought  it  precious,  but  I  feared  t'  abuse  it. 

A  woman's  heart  a  thousand  doubts  doth  frame — 

Whiles  tossed  with  fear,  and  whiles  als  crossed  with 

shame. 

So  to  attempt  I  durst  not  well  be  plain, 
But  thought  by  pearls  and  smiles  my  point  to  gain. 

I  see  him  coming  as  we  left  at  last. 
The  appointed  hour  it  is  not  fully  past. 
It  gives  me  hope,  sith  that  he  keeps  his  hour, 
That  yesternight  of  love  he  felt  the  power. 
A  gallant  lady  with  a  smiling  face, 
With  speaking  gestures  in  a  secret  place, 


22          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

May  kindle  fire  within  the  chastest  breast 
Both  of  the  greatest  and  als  of  the  least. 


Joseph. — 

I  see  yon  woman  in  a  rich  attire ; 

To  deck  her  thus  her  maid  will  surely  tire. 

Whenas  her  lord  did  with  her  here  remain 

She  in  apparel  was  not  half  so  vain. 

I  must  go  to  her ;  I  it  cannot  shun. 

0  Lord  me  save,  and,  as  thou  hast  begun, 
Continue  with  me,  that,  unto  the  last, 

1  both  in  heart  and  gestures  may  be  chaste. 

PotiphaSs  Wife.— 

Ho !  youth,  come  hither  that  I  may  indite 
Important  missives  which  ye  now  must  write 
To  send  abroad.     Men  must  not  idle  stand 
In  hulk  at  sea,  or  in  an  house  on  land. 
Lest  time  be  spent  before  our  turns  are  done, 
Let  us  both  go  into  my  cabin  soon. 

Now  doors  are  closed,  my  husband  is  afield, 
Sweet  youth,  I  wish  that  ye  to  me  would  yield 
My  earn'st  desire.     I  hardly  can  it  tell, 
But  by  my  gestures  ye  may  know  it  well. 
The  matter's  such  it  not  conceal  I  can. 
Even  ye  yourself  are  now  the  only  man 
Who  can  me  comfort,  pining  thus  away 
With  thoughts  of  you  by  night  and  als  by  day. 
Ye  know  my  meaning ;  I  it  blush  to  tell, 


ZACHARY   BOYD  23 

But  by  my  gestures  ye  may  know  it  well. 
The  doors  are  closed ;  none's  here  but  you  and  I ; 
Stol'ri  water's  sweet,  as  every  one  may  try. 
Thousands  of  servants  would  this  well  approve 
That  such  a  mistress  would  them  dearly  love. 

Joseph. — 

0  God  forbid !     God's  eye,  a  shining  taper, 

Sees  all  that's  done.    Your  door's  a  sconce  of  paper, 
Will  not  us  hide  from  his  all-seeing  eye. 
To  him  the  darkness  shineth  like  the  sky. 

PotipUaSs    Wife.— 

What  can  this  be  ?     I  whiles  am  in  a  flame, 
And  whiles  as  with  an  ague  chilled  I  am. 
My  heart  is  swol'n  with  sighs  and  sorrows  great : 
Both  day  and  night  my  soul  within  doth  fret. 

1  wish,  if  I  such  follies  could  forbear, 
That  I  a  dormouse  were  a  thousand  year, 
That  I  might  sleep  a  sleep  so  uncontrolled, 
To  shun  the  ill  that  waking  I  behold. 

What  can  this  be  ?     The  fire  yet  swiftly  seeks 
To  pass  the  paths  and  all  the  crooked  creeks 
Within  my  heart.     Love's  passions  are  more  eager, 
They  on  all  sides  this  heart  of  mine  beleaguer. 
Thoughts,  as  fell  hornets  from  their  drowsy  nest, 
Come  buzzing  so  within  my  troubled  breast 
With  risking  train,  that  I  must  by  and  by, 
Stitch'd  full  of  stings,  with  pain  lie  down  and  die — 


24          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Yea,  die  for  him  whom  I  cannot  attain, 
Who  for  my  love  still  meets  me  with  disdain. 

What !     Shall  I  die  ?     I  him  yet  will  assail, 
If  that  my  card  and  compass  do  not  fail. 

Now  time  is  come.     My  heart  it  springs  for  haste, 
About  his  neck  my  milk-white  arms  to  cast. 
I'll  hold  him,  hug  him,  saying  Welcome  mine ! 
Dear  mine  thou  art,  and  I  am  also  thine  ! 

Here's  fair  occasion ;  why  desire  we  thus 
To  sport  in  love  ?     None  is  to  hinder  us. 
While  we  have  time  now  let  us  do  with  speed. 
Lovers  must  dare,  and  for  no  dangers  dread. 
Why  burn  we  daylight  ?     We  have  time  and  place — 
My  dearest  Heart,  now  let  me  thee  embrace ! 

Joseph. — 

Madam,  madam  !  now  far  misled  ye  are  ! 
Think  that  ye  are  the  wife  of  Potiphar. 
My  noble  lord,  who  doth  us  all  command, 
He  would  not  look  to  get  this  from  your  hand. 

Sith  as  ye  hear  the  matter's  so  and  so, 
Now  loose  your  grips,  and  quickly  let  me  go. 
If  from  you  I  this  favour  cannot  find, 
I'll  rather  choose  to  leave  my  cloak  behind. 

PotiphaSs    Wife.— 

0  dule,  O  dule  !     Help,  help  !     O  dule,  O  dule ! 

1  am  abused  by  a  slave — a  fool ! 

Is  none  here  near  to  hear  my  shrillest  cry  ? 


ZACHARY    BOYD  25 

I  blush  to  tell  what  he  hath  done.  Fy,  fy  ! 
Ho  servants,  hear  !  come  to  my  help  anon. 
Or  with  a  slave  I'll  surely  be  undone. 


Nurse. — 

What  now,  madam  ?    What  is't  that  ails  you  there  ? 
What  is't  that  hath  dishevelled  all  your  hair  ? 


Potiphar's    Wife.— 

My  nurse,  my  nurse  !  this  base  and  beggar  loon 

Hath  throttled  me,  and  also  cast  me  down. 

I'm  shamed  for  aye,  though  no  more  were  than  this— 

Ere  even  I  wist,  this  slave  my  mouth  did  kiss. 

He  crafty  came  to  me  in  stealing  way, 

When  I  was  sleeping  in  the  canopy. 

I  blush  for  shame  to  tell  it — O  the  slave ! 

The  Jew,  the  rascal,  the  base  Hebrew  knave, 

The  vilest  villain  that  hath  ever  been 

Within  my  doors  !     Where  hath  the  like  been  seen 

Or  heard  of  ever  ?  that  a  basest  slave 

Durst  but  a  kiss  of  his  own  lady  crave. 

This  day  I  have  received  such  disgrace 

That  I  for  shame  cannot  lift  up  my  face. 


TOBIAS    SMOLLETT 

1721-1771 

IN  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century  there  was  a  well-known 
physician  in  Glasgow  named  Dr.  Gordon.1  When  talk  turned  upon 
the  latest  quarrel  engaged  in  by  a  certain  novelist  of  the  time,  as  it  was 
apt  to  do  in  his  company,  he  never  failed  to  put  in  a  fair  word  for  the 
delinquent.  With  a  smile  of  reminiscence,  as  he  helped  himself  to  a 
pinch  of  snuff,  he  would  say  "  Gie  me  my  ain  bubbly-nosed  callant,  wi' 
a  stane  in  his  pouch."  For  Tobias  George  Smollett  had  once  been  an 
apprentice  in  the  shop  of  Mr.  John  Gordon,  surgeon  and  apothecary. 
One  incident  of  the  "callant's"  early  days  in  that  surgeon's  shop  has 
been  remembered.  It  was  a  winter  morning,  and  a  snow  battle  was 
going  on  among  the  boys  outside,  when  the  stout  little  surgeon  came  in. 
A  certain  prescription  was  not  ready,  and  the  shopman  excused  the 
delay  by  explaining  that  he  had  been  hit  by  a  snowball  from  the  street, 
and  had  run  after  his  assailant.  "A  likely  story!"  answered  the 
surgeon.  "  I  am  sure  I  might  stand  here  long  enough  before  any  boy 
would  fling  a  ball  at  me."  He  had  no  sooner  said  the  words,  however, 
than  a  snowball  from  the  door  corner  hit  him  straight  in  the  face.  The 
boy  Smollett  had  been  within  earshot,  and  the  psychological  moment 
had  proved  too  much  for  him.  This  was  Smollett's  failing  throughout 
life.  He  could  never  resist  the  telling  moment  for  attack,  and  in 
consequence,  to  his  last  day  he  was  rarely  without  a  quarrel  on  hand 
with  one  person  or  another. 

Son  of  a  younger  son  of  Sir  James  Smollett  of  Bonhill,  the  poet- 
novelist  was  born  at  Dalquhurn,  near  Renton,  in  what  is  still,  notwith- 


1  In  his  later  days  Gordon  assumed  as  a  partner  Dr.  John  Moore,  author  of  the 
novel  "  Zeluco,"  and  father  of  the  future  hero  of  Corunna. 


TOBIAS   SMOLLETT  27 

standing  its  smoky  chimney-stacks,  the  beautiful  Vale  of  Leven.1  The 
mother,  early  left  a  widow,  supported  herself  by  farming,  and  the 
boy  got  his  schooling  in  Dunbarton,  a  mile  or  two  away.  A  little  later 
he  became  the  surgeon's  apprentice  in  Glasgow,  and  attended  the 
College  there.  But  the  example  of  Thomson  and  Mallet,  Scotsmen 
who  had  lately  found  fame  in  London,  had  fired  his  fancy,  and  in  1738, 
throwing  down  pestle  and  spatula,  he  set  off  for  the  south.  He  did  the 
journey  partly  on  foot,  partly  on  packhorse  and  carrier's  waggon,  and, 
like  Samuel  Johnson,  who  had  reached  the  city  in  the  previous  year,  he 
carried  a  tragedy  in  his  pocket.  Alas  !  this  tragedy,  "  The  Regicide," 
on  the  assassination  of  James  I.  at  Perth,  failed  to  get  a  hearing,  and 
its  author  was  glad  presently  to  sail  as  surgeon's  mate  on  the  "  Cumber- 
land," 8o-gun  ship  of  war.  In  this  position  he  served  for  three  years, 
and  was  present  at  the  futile  siege  of  Carthagena.  Then,  during  some 
stay  in  Jamaica,  he  met  a  planter's  daughter,  Miss  Anne  Lascelles,  who 
afterwards  became  his  wife. 

In  1744  Smollett  returned  to  London  and  set  up  as  a  doctor  in  Downing 
Street.  But  patients  were  few,  and  the  Scotsman  was  not  complaisant. 
"  If  you  have  time  to  play  at  being  ill,"  he  said  to  one  invalid,  "  I  have 
no  leisure  to  play  at  curing  you. "  At  the  same  time  he  had  not  for- 
gotten his  poetic  hopes.  It  was  in  1746,  when  London  was  jubilant 
with  the  news  of  Culloden ;  the  tales  of  "Butcher"  Cumberland's 
atrocities  among  the  Highland  glens  stirred  him  to  wrath,  and  he  wrote 
"  The  Tears  of  Scotland."  It  is  said  that  when  he  read  the  six  original 
stanzas  in  a  coffee-house,  one  of  the  company  pointed  out  the  danger 
the  author  ran  of  giving  offence  to  the  Government.  By  way  of  reply 
Smollett  took  his  poem  to  a  side  table,  and  added  a  seventh  stanza 
more  biting  in  its  invective  than  all  the  others  together. 

Next  year    he    married    Miss    Lascelles,    and    in    1748   published 


1 1  am  indebted  to  Captain  Telfer  Smollett  of  Bonhill  for  the  information  that 
the  exact  spot  of  the  poet's  birth  was  a  knoll  at  the  back  of  the  Volunteer  Drill  Hall 
in  Renton,  and  exactly  opposite  Dalquhurn  works  gate.  The  house  is  shown  in  an 
oil  painting  preserved  by  the  family.  It  has  long  been  demolished,  but  some  of  its 
stones  are  built  into  the  garden  wall  of  the  neighbouring  Place  of  Bonhill.  A  local 
tradition  declares  that  Smollett's  mother  was  seized  with  the  pains  of  labour  while 
sitting  at  the  foot  of  a  tree  which  overhung  the  road  at  hand  till  last  year.  Some 
say  the  child  was  actually  born  out  of  doors,  others  that  the  mother  had  time  to  get 
into  the  house. 


28          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

"  Roderick  Random,"  which  at  once  gave  him  a  place  beside  Richard- 
son and  Fielding  among  the  creators  of  the  modern  novel.  Full  of 
adventure,  bustle,  and  broad  humour,  it  detailed  a  good  deal  of  his 
own  experience,  and  included  an  account  of  the  attempt  on  Carthagena. 
His  next  book,  "  Peregrine  Pickle,"  included  the  notorious  "Memoirs 
of  a  Lady  of  Quality,"  said  to  have  been  furnished  him  by  their  subject 
herself,  the  frail,  beautiful  Frances  Hawes,  Lady  Vane. 

Smollett  was  now  a  great  author,  and  the  loss  of  most  of  his  wife's 
fortune  of  ^"300  a  year  forced  him  to  turn  his  reputation  to  account. 
Among  other  work  for  the  booksellers  he  put  his  name  to  translations 
of  "  Gil  Bias  "  and  of  "  Don  Quixote,"  a  "  Compendium  of  Voyages," 
and  a  "Universal  History."  He  became  editor  of  "The  Critical 
Review,"  and  supported  Lord  Bute  with  a  weekly  paper,  "The 
Briton."  At  the  same  time,  in  his  house  at  Chelsea  he  entertained 
lavishly  on  week-days  most  of  the  men  of  letters  of  the  time,  and  on 
Sundays  the  less  fortunate  brothers  of  the  pen  for  whom  he  found  work 
at  opportunity. 

In  1755  he  paid  a  visit  to  Scotland.  His  mother  was  living  with  her 
son-in-law,  Mr.  Telfer  of  Scotstoun,  in  Peeblesshire,  and  the  dignified, 
handsome  visitor  had  himself  introduced  to  her  as  "a  gentleman  from 
the  West  Indies."  For  a  time,  while  he  continued  to  frown,  the 
deception  succeeded  ;  but  as  Mrs.  Smollett  kept  looking  fixedly  at  him 
the  attempt  broke  down,  and  in  a  moment  his  mother's  arms  were 
about  his  neck.  "My  son,  my  son!"  she  cried,  "that  auld  kent 
smile  o'  yours  has  betrayed  ye  ! "  At  the  same  time  he  visited  Glasgow 
and  his  birthplace  in  the  Vale  of  Leven. 

Next  year  he  undertook  a  complete  "History  of  England,"  and 
finished  it  amid  great  eclat  in  fourteen  months.  And  in  1757,  Garrick, 
forgiving  him  his  sarcasms,  produced  "The  Reprisals,  or  the  Tars  of 
Old  England,"  a  play  which  remained  a  never-failing  stock  piece  for  a 
century.  Meanwhile  his  quarrels  had  been  growing  more  serious,  and 
for  a  libel  on  Admiral  Knowles,  which  he  avowed  in  the  "  Critical 
Review,"  he  was  fined  .£100,  and  spent  three  months  in  prison.  A 
worse  blow,  however,  fell  upon  him  in  the  death  of  his  only  daughter 
at  the  age  of  fifteen.  From  this  shock  Smollett  never  fully  recovered. 
He  went  abroad,  and  as  the  fruit  of  two  years'  sojourn  he  wrote 
"  Travels  through  France  and  Italy,"  for  the  petulance  of  which  he  was 
satirized  as  "Smelfungus"  by  Sterne  in  the  "Sentimental  Journey." 


TOBIAS   SMOLLETT  29 

But  grief,  the  strain  of  constant  toil,  and  the  bitterness  of  controversy 
were  wearing  him  down,  and  when  he  took  his  blue-eyed  Creole  wife  to 
Scotland  and  Glasgow  in  1766  he  was  a  dying  man. 

The  old  humour,  nevertheless,  was  yet  to  flash  forth  its  best.  "  The 
Adventures  of  Count  Fathom "  had  appeared  in  1752,  and  "  Sir 
Lancelot  Greaves,"  earliest  of  serial  novels,  in  the  "  British  Magazine," 
of  which  he  was  editor,  in  1758.  But  it  was  in  1770,  at  the  little 
village  of  Monte  Nuova,  near  Leghorn,  whither  he  had  gone  as  a  last 
resort,  that  the  wearied  man  wrote  his  brightest  and  most  racy  book, 
"Humphrey  Clinker."  At  Leghorn  itself  in  the  following  year  he 
died. 

It  is  as  a  novelist  that  Smollett  is  most  remembered.  His  tales,  for 
amusing  delineation  of  the  stronger  humours  and  absurdities  of 
character,  occupy  a  place  by  themselves,  and  preserve  a  full-coloured 
picture  of  the  manners  and  morals,  or  lack  of  them,  in  that  hard-drink- 
ing time.  His  few  poems,  nevertheless,  remain  most  notable 
achievements,  and  in  them,  and  not  in  the  novels,  it  is  worthy  of 
remark,  the  real  character  of  Smollett — proud,  hot-hearted,  and 
generous — is  to  be  found.  His  longest  pieces,  the  satires  "  Advice " 
and  "  Reproof,"  are  not  his  best.  Fiercely  scathing  in  their  time,  they 
are  mostly  pointless  now,  since  their  allusions  are  out  of  date.  His  few 
"  songs,"  again,  run  mostly  in  the  affected  fashion  of  that  day.  His 
memory  as  a  poet,  therefore,  depends  on  some  three  or  four  pieces. 


THE    TEARS    OF    SCOTLAND 

Mourn,  hapless  Caledonia !  mourn 
Thy  banished  peace,  thy  laurels  torn  ! 
Thy  sons,  for  valour  long  renowned, 
Lie  slaughtered  on  their  native  ground ; 
Thy  hospitable  roofs  no  more 
Invite  the  stranger  to  the  door ; 
In  smoky  ruins  sunk  they  lie, 
The  monuments  of  cruelty. 


30          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  wretched  owner  sees  afar 
His  all  become  the  prey  of  war ; 
Bethinks  him  of  his  babes  and  wife, 
Then  smites  his  breast,  and  curses  life. 
Thy  swains  are  famished  on  the  rocks 
Where  once  they  fed  their  wanton  flocks ; 
Thy  ravished  virgins  shriek  in  vain ; 
Thy  infants  perish  on  the  plain. 

What  boots  it  then,  in  every  clime, 
Through  the  wide-spreading  waste  of  time, 
Thy  martial  glory,  crowned  with  praise, 
Still  shone  with  undiminished  blaze  ? 
Thy  towering  spirit  now  is  broke, 
Thy  neck  is  bended  to  the  yoke. 
What  foreign  arms  could  never  quell 
By  civil  rage  and  rancour  fell. 

The  rural  pipe  and  merry  lay 
No  more  shall  cheer  the  happy  day : 
No  social  scenes  of  gay  delight 
Beguile  the  dreary  winter  night ; 
No  strains  but  those  of  sorrow  flow, 
And  nought  be  heard  but  sounds  of  woe ; 
While  the  pale  phantoms  of  the  slain 
Glide  nightly  o'er  the  silent  plain. 

Oh,  baneful  cause !  oh,  fatal  morn, 
Accursed  to  ages  yet  unborn  ! 
The  sons  against  their  father  stood, 
The  parent  shed  his  children's  blood. 


TOBIAS   SMOLLETT  31 

Yet  when  the  rage  of  battle  ceased, 
The  victor's  soul  was  not  appeased ; 
The  naked  and  forlorn  must  feel 
Devouring  flames  and  murdering  steel ! 

The  pious  mother,  doomed  to  death, 
Forsaken  wanders  o'er  the  heath ; 
The  bleak  wind  whistles  round  her  head ; 
Her  helpless  orphans  cry  for  bread. 
Bereft  of  shelter,  food,  and  friend, 
She  views  the  shades  of  night  descend, 
And,  stretched  beneath  the  inclement  skies, 
Weeps  o'er  her  tender  babes,  and  dies. 

While  the  warm  blood  bedews  my  veins, 
And  unimpaired  remembrance  reigns, 
Resentment  of  my  country's  fate 
Within  my  filial  breast  shall  beat, 
And,  spite  of  her  insulting  foe, 
My  sympathising  verse  shall  flow. 
Mourn,  hapless  Caledonia,  mourn 
Thy  banished  peace,  thy  laurels  torn  ! 


ODE   TO   LEVEN   WATER 

On  Leven's  banks,  while  free  to  rove 
And  tune  the  rural  pipe  to  love, 
I  envied  not  the  happiest  swain 
That  ever  trod  the  Arcadian  plain. 

Pure  stream,  in  whose  transparent  wave 


32  THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

My  youthful  limbs  I  wont  to  lave, 
No  torrents  stain  thy  limpid  source, 
No  rocks  impede  thy  dimpling  course, 
That  warbles  sweetly  o'er  its  bed, 
With  white,  round,  polished  pebbles  spread, 
While,  lightly  poised,  the  scaly  brood 
In  myriads  cleave  thy  crystal  flood — 
The  springing  trout,  in  speckled  pride, 
The  salmon,  monarch  of  the  tide, 
The  ruthless  pike,  intent  on  war, 
The  silver  eel  and  mottled  par. 
Devolving  from  thy  parent  lake, 
A  charming  maze  thy  waters  make  , 
By  bowers  of  birch  and  groves  of  pine 
And  edges  flowered  with  eglantine. 
Still  on  thy  banks,  so  gaily  green, 
May  numerous  herds  and  flocks  be  seen, 
And  lasses,  chanting  o'er  the  pail, 
And  shepherds,  piping  in  the  dale, 
And  ancient  faith,  that  knows  no  guile, 
And  industry,  embrowned  with  toil, 
And  hearts  resolved,  and  hands  prepared 
The  blessings  they  enjoy  to  guard  ! 


ODE   TO   INDEPENDENCE 

Thy  spirit,  Independence  !  let  me  share, 
Lord  of  the  lion  heart  and  eagle  eye  ! 

Thy  steps  I  follow  with  my  bosom  bare, 

Nor  heed  the  storm  that  howls  along  the  sky. 


TOBIAS   SMOLLETT  33 

Deep  in  the  frozen  regions  of  the  north 

A  goddess  violated  brought  thee  forth, 

Immortal  Liberty  !  whose  look  sublime 

Hath  bleached  the  tyrant's  cheek  in  every  varying  clime. 

What  time  the  iron-hearted  Gaul, 
With  frantic  superstition  for  his  guide, 

Armed  with  the  dagger  and  the  pall, 
The  sons  of  Woden  to  the  field  defied, 
The  ruthless  hag,  by  Weser's  flood 

In  Heaven's  name  urged  the  infernal  blow, 

And  red  the  stream  began  to  flow : 
The  vanquished  were  baptised  with  blood.1 

The  Saxon  prince  in  horror  fled 

From  altars  stained  with  human  gore, 
And  Liberty  his  routed  legions  led 

In  safety  to  the  bleak  Norwegian  shore. 
There  in  a  cave  asleep  she  lay, 

Lulled  by  the  hoarse  resounding  main, 
When  a  bold  savage  passed  that  way, 

Impelled  by  destiny,  his  name  Disdain. 
Of  ample  front  the  portly  chief  appeared ; 

The  hunted  boar  supplied  a  shaggy  vest, 
The  drifted  snow  hung  on  his  yellow  beard, 

And  his  broad  shoulders  braved  the  furious  blast. 
He  stopped,  he  gazed,  his  bosom  glowed, 

And  deeply  felt  the  impression  of  her  charms. 
He  seized  the  advantage  Fate  allowed 

And  straight  compressed  her  in  his  vigorous  arms. 


1  Charlemagne,   having   forced   4000  Saxon    prisoners  to  undergo 
Christian  baptism,  ordered  their  throats  to  be  cut. 
D 


34          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

The  curlew  screamed,  the  Tritons  blew 

Their  shells  to  celebrate  the  ravished  rite. 
Old  Time  exulted  as  he  flew, 

And  Independence  saw  the  light. 
The  light  he  saw  in  Albion's  happy  plains, 

Where,  under  cover  of  a  flowering  thorn, 
While  Philomel  renewed  her  warbled  strains, 

The  auspicious  fruit  of  stolen  embrace  was  born. 
The  mountain  Dryads  seized  with  joy 

The  smiling  infant  to  their  charge  consigned ; 
The  Doric  Muse  caressed  the  favourite  boy ; 

The  hermit,  Wisdom,  stored  his  opening  mind. 
As  rolling  years  matured  his  age 

He  flourished  bold  and  sinewy  as  his  sire, 
While  the  mild  passions  in  his  breast  assuage 

The  fiercer  flames  of  his  maternal  fire. 

Accomplished  thus  he  winged  his  way, 

And  zealous  roved  from  pole  to  pole, 
The  rolls  of  right  eternal  to  display, 

And  warm  with  patriot  thoughts  the  aspiring  soul. 
On  desert  isles  'twas  he  that  raised 

Those  spires  that  gild  the  Adriatic  wave,1 
Where  tyranny  beheld,  amazed, 

Fair  Freedom's  temple  where  he  marked  her  grave. 
He  steeled  the  blunt  Batavian's  arms 

To  burst  the  Iberian's  double  chain ; 
And  cities  reared,  and  planted  farms 

Won  from  the  skirts  of  Neptune's  wide  domain.2 


Venice.          2  The  Netherlands. 


TOBIAS    SMOLLETT  35 

He  with  the  generous  rustics  sate 

On  Uri's  rocks  in  close  divan, 
And  winged  that  arrow,  sure  as  fate, 

Which  ascertained  the  sacred  rights  of  man.1 

Arabia's  scorching  sands  he  crossed, 

Where  blasted  Nature  pants  supine, 
Conductor  of  her  tribes  adust 

To  Freedom's  adamantine  shrine. 
And  many  a  Tartar  horde  forlorn,  aghast, 

He  snatched  from  under  fell  Oppression's  wing, 
And  taught,  amidst  the  dreary  waste, 

The  all-cheering  hymns  of  liberty  to  sing. 
He  virtue  finds,  like  precious  ore, 

Diffused  through  every  baser  mould. 
Even  now  he  stands  on  Calvi's  rocky  shore 

And  turns  the  dross  of  Corsica  to  gold.2 
He,  guardian  genius  !  taught  my  youth 

Pomp's  tinsel  livery  to  despise — 
My  lips,  by  him  chastised  to  truth, 

Ne'er  paid  that  homage  which  my  heart  denies. 

Those  sculptured  halls  my  feet  shall  never  tread 
Where  varnished  Vice  and  Vanity,  combined 

To  dazzle  and  seduce,  their  banners  spread, 
And  forge  vile  shackles  for  the  free-born  mind, 

While  Insolence  his  wrinkled  front  uprears, 
And  all  the  flowers  of  spurious  Fancy  blow, 


1  The  arrow  of  William  Tell. 

2  The  reference  is  to  the  stand  made  by  Paschal  Paoli  against  the 
aggressions  of  the  French. 


36          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

And  Title  his  ill-woven  chaplet  wears, 

Full  often  wreathed  around  the  miscreant's  brow ; 
Where  ever-dimpling  Falsehood,  pert  and  vain, 

Presents  her  cup  of  stale  Profession's  froth, 
And  pale  Disease,  with  all  his  bloated  train, 

Torments  the  sons  of  gluttony  and  sloth. 

In  Fortune's  car  behold  that  minion  ride, 

With  either  India's  glittering  spoils  oppressed. 
So  moves  the  sumpter-mule  in  harnessed  pride, 

That  bears  the  treasure  which  he  cannot  taste. 
For  him  let  venal  bards  disgrace  the  bay, 

And  hireling  minstrels  wake  the  tinkling  string, 
Her  sensual  snares  let  faithless  Pleasure  lay, 

And  jingling  bells  fantastic  Folly  ring. 
Disquiet,  doubt,  and  dread  shall  intervene, 

And  Nature,  still  to  all  her  feelings  just, 
In  vengeance  hang  a  damp  on  every  scene, 

Shook  from  the  baneful  pinions  of  Disgust. 

Nature  I'll  court  in  her  sequestered  haunts 

By  mountain,  meadow,  streamlet,  grove,  or  cell, 
Where  the  poised  lark  his  evening  ditty  chaunts, 

And  Health  and  Peace  and  Contemplation  dwell. 
There  Study  shall  with  Solitude  recline, 

And  Friendship  pledge  me  to  his  fellow  swains, 
And  Toil  and  Temperance  sedately  twine 

The  slender  cord  that  fluttering  life  sustains ; 
And  fearless  Poverty  shall  guard  the  door, 

And  Taste  unspoiled  the  frugal  table  spread, 
And  Industry  supply  the  humble  store, 


TOBIAS   SMOLLETT  37 

And  Sleep  unbribed  his  dews  refreshing  shed. 
White-mantled  Innocence,  ethereal  sprite ! 
Shall  chase  far  off  the  goblins  of  the  night, 
And  Independence  o'er  the  day  preside — 
Propitious  Power !  my  patron  and  my  pride. 


THY    FATAL    SHAFTS 

Thy  fatal  shafts  unerring  move ; 
I  bow  before  thine  altar,  Love ! 
I  feel  thy  soft  resistless  flame 
Glide  swift  through  all  my  vital  frame. 

For  while  I  gaze  my  bosom  glows, 
My  blood  in  tides  impetuous  flows ; 
Hope,  fear,  and  joy  alternate  roll, 
And  floods  of  transport  whelm  my  soul. 

My  faltering  tongue  attempts  in  vain 
In  soothing  murmurs  to  complain ; 
My  tongue  some  secret  magic  ties — 
My  murmurs  sink  in  broken  sighs. 

Condemned  to  nurse  eternal  care, 
And  ever  drop  the  silent  tear, 
Unheard  I  mourn,  unknown  I  sigh, 
Unfriended  live,  unpitied  die. 


DOUGAL    GRAHAM 

1724-1779 

A  COMPENDIUM  of  the  Glasgow  poets  could  not  be  considered  complete 
without  some  mention  at  least  of  the  famous  Skellat  Bellman.  Born  of 
humble  parents  in  the  village  of  Raploch,  near  Stirling,  he  was 
deformed  in  person,  and  of  the  scantiest  education  ;  yet  his  native  wit 
made  him  a  marked  figure  in  his  day  in  Glasgow;  he  composed  a 
metrical  account  of  "  the  '45  "  which,  though  not  indeed  to  be  ranked 
as  fine  poetry,  possesses  not  a  little  of  the  merit  of  the  early  chronicles  ; 
and  his  chapbooks  remain  among  the  most  famous  and  entertaining  of 
their  class  of  literature. 

For  a  time  Dougal  was  servant  to  a  small  farmer  near  Campsie  ;  but 
the  wandering  spirit  was  in  his  blood;  like  his  own  John  Cheap  he 
became  a  pedlar,  and  for  some  years  plied  his  craft  throughout  the 
country.  When  the  Rebellion  of  1745  broke  out,  and  the  Jacobite 
army  marched  south,  the  pedlar  seized  his  chance,  joined  the  High- 
landers as  they  crossed  the  Fords  of  Frew,  and  followed  the  fortunes  of 
the  Chevalier  till  they  finally  broke  at  Culloden.  The  probability  is 
that  Graham  was  not  a  soldier  but  a  sutler.  Nevertheless  he  saw  the 
whole  campaign,  and  no  sooner  was  it  over  than  he  proceeded  with  no 
little  ingenuity  to  turn  it  to  account.  In  five  months  he  had  written 
and  published  at  Glasgow  his  rhymed  "History  of  the  Rebellion." 
The  book  was  at  once  popular,  and  eight  editions  appeared  before  1809. 
Settling  in  Glasgow  Graham  apparently  became  the  rhyming  chronicler 
of  passing  events,  issuing  his  broadsides  in  rhyme  and  prose  under  the 
name  of  "John  Faikirk,"  the  "Scots  Piper,"  and  the  like.  At  the 
same  time  he  still  carried  on  his  business  of  pedlar,  or  ' '  merchant ;  " 
is  said  by  M'Ure  to  have  become  a  printer  and  set  up  his  own  works 
as  he  composed  them  at  the  press;  and  latterly  filled  the  post  of 


DOUGAL   GRAHAM  39 

bellman  to  the  city.  In  this  last  character  his  ready  wit  was  as  con- 
spicuous as  his  rhyming  faculty.  At  every  corner  where  he  rang  his 
bell  a  crowd  of  boys  gathered  to  hear  his  rhyming  tags,  and  woe  to  the 
wight  who  tried  to  "  take  him  off."  "  The  story  goes,"  says  his  editor, 
"  that  Dougal  was  on  one  occasion  passing  along  the  Gallowgate 
making  some  intimation  or  other.  Several  officers  of  the  42nd  High- 
landers, then  returned  from  the  American  War  of  Independence,  where 
their  regiment  had  been  severely  handled  by  the  colonists,  were  dining 
in  the  Saracen's  Head  Inn.  They  knew  Dougal  of  old,  and  they 
thought  to  have  a  joke  at  his  expense.  One  of  them  put  his  head  out 
of  the  window,  and  called  to  the  bellman — '  What's  that  you've  got  on 
your  back,  Dougal  ? '  This  was  rather  a  personal  reference,  for  Dougal 
had  the  misfortune  to  be  '  humphie  backit.'  But  he  was  not  put  out  by 
the  question,  for  he  at  once  silenced  his  interrogator  by  answering — 
'  It's  Bunker's  Hill ;  do  you  choose  to  mount  ? ' "  Such  stories  were 
once  common  tradition  regarding  him. 

Dr.  Strang,  in  "  Glasgow  and  its  Clubs,"  thus  describes  Graham — 
"  Only  fancy  a  little  man,  scarcely  five  feet  in  height,  with  a  Punch-like 
nose,  with  a  hump  on  his  back,  a  protuberance  on  his  chest,  and  a  halt 
in  his  gait,  donned  in  a  long,  scarlet  coat  nearly  reaching  the  ground, 
blue  breeches,  white  stockings,  shoes  with  large  buckles,  and  a  cocked 
hat  perched  on  his  head,  and  you  have  before  you  the  comic  author,  the 
witty  bellman,  the  Rabelais  of  Scottish  ploughmen,  herds,  and  handi- 
craftsmen." Caldwell,  his  publisher,  said  "he  could  screed  aff  a  bit 
penny  history  in  less  than  nae  time.  A'  his  warks  took  weel — they 
were  level  to  the  meanest  capacity,  and  had  plenty  o'  coarse  jokes  to 
season  them."  A  just  criticism  of  Graham's  "History"  is  that  of 
Robert  Chambers  in  his  "Illustrious  Scotsmen" — "The  poetry  is,  of 
course,  in  some  cases,  a  little  grotesque,  but  the  matter  of  the  work  is 
in  many  instances  valuable.  It  contains,  and  in  this  consists  the  chief 
value  of  all  such  productions,  many  minute  facts  which  a  work  of  more 
pretension  would  not  admit."  Graham's  other  short  pieces  run  in  the 
same  vein  of  humour.  "John  Highlandman's  Remarks  on  Glasgow" 
furnish  a  curious  picture  of  the  city  in  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth 
century.  "Tugal  M 'Tagger"  is  a  satire  of  no  little  shrewdness,  and 
"Haud  awa'  frae  me,  Donald,"  attributed  to  Graham  by  Stenhouse  in 
his  "  Lyric  Poetry  and  Music  of  Scotland,"  remains  a  classic  of  its 
kind.  Burns  admired  "The  Turnimspike"  on  account  of  its  local 


40          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

humour,  and  Sir  Walter  Scott  declared  that  piece  alone  enough  to 
entitle  its  author  to  immortality.  The  collected  writings  of  Dougal 
Graham,  with  a  memoir  and  notes,  were  edited  by  Mr.  George 
MacGregor  and  published  at  Glasgow  in  two  volumes  in  1883. 


THE     TURNIMSPIKE 

HerseP  pe  Highland  shentleman, 
Pe  auld  as  Pothwell  prig,  man ; 

And  mony  alterations  seen 

Amang  the  Lawland  whig,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

First  when  her  to  the  Lowlands  came, 
Nainsel  was  driving  cows,  man  : 

There  was  nae  laws  about  hims  narse, 
About  the  breeks  or  trews,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

Nainsel  did  wear  the  philapeg, 
The  plaid  prickt  on  her  shouder ; 

The  gude  claymore  hung  pe  her  pelt, 
The  pistol  charged  wi'  pouder. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

But  for  whereas  these  cursed  preeks, 
Wherewith  man's  narse  pe  lockit, 

Ohon  that  ere  she  saw  the  day  ! 
For  a'  her  houghs  pe  prokit. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 


DOUGAL  GRAHAM  41 

Everything  in  the  Highlands  now 

Pe  turn't  to  alteration ; 
The  sodjer  dwall  at  our  door  cheek, 

And  that's  ta  great  vexation. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 


Scotland  be  turn't  a  Ningland  now, 
And  laws  pring  on  the  cadger : 

Nainsel  wad  durk  him  for  her  deeds, 
But  oh  !  she  fears  the  sodger. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

Another  law  came  after  that, 
Me  never  saw  the  like,  man ; 

They  mak'  a  lang  road  on  the  crund, 
And  ca'  him  turnimspike,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

And  wow,  she  pe  a  ponnie  road, 
Like  Louden  corn  rigs,  man ; 

Whare  twa  carts  may  gang  on  her, 
And  no  preak  other's  legs,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

They  sharge  a  penny  for  ilk  horse, 
In  troth  they'll  be  nae  sheaper 

For  nought  but  gaen  upo'  the  crund, 
And  they  gie  me  a  paper. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 


42          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

They  tak'  the  horse  then  pe  the  head, 
And  there  they  mak'  them  stand,  man. 

I  tell'd  them  that  I  seen  the  day 
They  hadna  sic  command,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

Nae  doubts  nainsel  maun  draw  his  purse, 
And  pay  them  what  hims  like,  man : 

I'll  see  a  shudgement  on  his  store, 
That  filthy  turnimspike,  man. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 

But  I'll  awa'  to  the  Highland  hills, 
Where  nane  a  ane  sail  turn  her ; 

And  no  come  near  your  turnimspike, 
Unless  it  pe  tae  purn  her. 
Fal  lal,  etc. 


JOHN   HIGHLANDMAN'S   REMARKS   ON 
GLASGOW 

Her  nainsel  into  Glasgow  went, 

An  errand  there  to  see't, 
And  she  never  saw  a  bonnier  town 

Standing  on  her  feet. 

For  a'  the  houses  that  be  tere 

Was  theekit  wi'  blue  stanes, 
And  a  stane  ladder  to  gang  up, 

No  fa'  to  break  her  banes. 


DOUGAL   GRAHAM  43 

I  gang  upon  a  stany  road, 

A  street  they  do  him  ca' ; 
And  when  me  seek  the  chapman's  house, 

His  name  be  on  the  wa'. 

I  gang  to  buy  a  snish  tamback, 

And  standing  at  the  Corse, 
And  tere  I  see  a  dead  man 

Was  riding  on  his  horse. 

And  O  !  he  be  a  poor  man, 

And  no  hae  mony  claes, 
Te  brogues  be  worn  aff  his  feet, 

And  me  see  a'  his  taes.1 

Te  horse  had  up  his  muckle  fit 

For  to  gie  me  a  shap, 
And  gaping  wi'  his  great  mouth 

To  grip  me  by  the  tap. 

He  had  a  staff  into  his  hand 

To  fight  me  an  he  could, 
But  hersel  be  rin  awa'  frae  him ; 

His  horse  be  unco  proud. 

But  I  be  rin  around  about, 

And  stand  upon  the  guard,2 
Where  I  see  the  deil  chap  the  hours ;  3 

Tan  me  grew  unco  feared. 


*  The  statue  of  King  William  III.,  set  up  at  Glasgow  Cross,  was 
cast  in  classic  dress,  including  sandals. 

2  The  Guardhouse,  at  foot  of  Candleriggs. 

3  A  clockmaker  had  in  his  window  a  time-piece  in  which  Satan  was 
seen  striking  the  hours. 


44  THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

Ohon  !  ohon  !  her  nainsel  said, 
And  where  will  me  go  rin  ? 

For  yonder  be  the  black  man 
That  burns  the  folk  for  sin. 

I'll  no  be  stay  nae  langer  tere, 

But  fast  me  rin  awa', 
And  see  the  man  thrawin  te  rapes 

Aside  te  Broomielaw.1 

And  O  !  she  pe  a  lang  tedder, 
I  spiert  what  they'll  do  wi't. 

He  said  to  hang  the  Highlandmen 
For  stealing  o'  their  meat. 

Hout !  hersel's  an  honest  shentleman ; 

I  never  yet  did  steal, 
But  when  I  meet  a  muckle  purse, 

I  like  it  unco  weel. 

Tan  fare  ye  weel,  ye  saucy  fellow  ! 

I  fain  your  skin  wad  pay ; 
I  cam'  to  your  toun  the  morn,  but 

I'll  gang  out  yesterday. 

Fan  I  gang  to  my  quarter-house, 
The  door  was  unco  braw, 

For  here  they  had  a  cow's  husband 
Was  pricked  on  the  wa'.2 


1  There  were  rope-works  by  the  Broomielaw. 

2  The  Black  Bull  Inn,  at  the  head  of  Stockwell  Street. 


DOUGAL   GRAHAM  45 

0  tere  me  got  a  shapin  ale, 
An'  ten  me  got  a  supper — 

A  filthy  choud  o'  chappit  meat, 
Boiled  amang  a  butter. 

It  was  a  filthy  dirt  o'  beef, 

His  banes  was  like  te  horn ; 
She  was  a  calf  wanting  the  skin, 

Before  that  she  was  born. 

1  gang  awa'  into  the  kirk 

To  hear  a  Lawland  preach ; 
And  mony  a  bonnie  sang  they  sing, 
Teir  books  they  did  them  teach. 

And  tere  I  saw  a  bonnie  matam 

Wi'  feathers  on  her  waim ; T 
I  wonder  an  she  be  gaun  to  flie, 

Or  what  be  in  her  min'. 

Another  matams  follow  her 

Wha's     .     .     .     was  round  like  cogs, 
And  clitter  clatter  cries  her  feet — 

She  had  on  iron  brogues.2 

And  tere  I  saw  another  matam 

Into  a  tarry  seek, 
And  twa  mans  pe  carry  her 

Wi'  raoes  about  hims  neck. 


A  feather  muff,  then  fashionable. 
Pattens. 


46          THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

She  pe  sae  fu'  o'  vanity 

As  no  gang  on  the  grim', 
But  twa  poor  man's  pe  carry  her 

In  a  barrow  cover't  abune.1 

Some  had  a  fish-tail  to  their  mouth,2 
And  some  pe  had  a  ponnet ; 

But  my  Janet  and  Donald's  wife 
Wad  rather  hae  a  bannock. 


1  A  sedan  chair. 

2  The  bonnet  tie  then  in  vogue. 


ROBERT    COUPER 

1750-1818 

SON  of  a  Wigtownshire  farmer,  Robert  Couper  was  born  at  Balsier,  in 
the  parish  of  Sorbie.  He  entered  Glasgow  University  in  1769,  and 
studied  at  first  for  the  Church  of  Scotland.  On  the  death  of  his 
parents,  however,  he  was  forced  to  go  as  tutor  to  a  family  in  Virginia, 
and  proposed  to  take  orders  in  the  Episcopal  Church.  This  intention 
also  was  baulked.  The  outbreak  of  the  American  War  of  Independence 
in  1776  sent  him  back  to  Glasgow.  Returning  to  the  old  University  in 
High  Street,  he  studied  medicine,  and  qualified  as  a  surgeon.  For  a 
time  he  practised  at  Newton- Stewart  in  his  native  county,  but  on  the 
recommendation  of  Dr.  Hamilton,  professor  of  midwifery,  was  appointed 
physician  to  the  Duke  of  Gordon,  and  settled  at  Fochabers  in  1788. 
At  the  same  time  he  took  the  degree  of  M.D.  at  Glasgow,  "to  prevent 
people,  no  wiser  than  himself,  from  dictating  to  him,"  and  married 
Miss  Stott,  daughter  of  the  minister  of  Minnigaff,  Kirkcudbrightshire. 
He  left  Fochabers  in  1806,  and  died  at  Wigtown  twelve  years  later.  He 
was  the  author  of  two  volumes  of  "Poetry,  chiefly  in  the  Scottish 
Language,"  published  at  Inverness  in  1804.  His  best-known  song, 
"Kinrara,"  or  "Red  gleams  the  sun,"  refers  to  Kinrara  Lodge,  the 
summer  residence  of  the  Duchess  of  Gordon.  Another,  "Red,  red  is 
the  path  to  glory,"  was  written  in  1799  at  the  desire  of  Lady  Georgiana 
Gordon  (afterwards  Duchess  of  Bedford),  regarding  her  brother,  the 
Marquis  of  Huntly,  then  with  his  regiment  in  Holland.  A  few  days 
after  the  writing  of  it  news  arrived  that  the  Marquis  was  wounded.  The 
song  was  set  to  a  beautiful  air,  "Stu  mo  run,"  picked  up  by  Lady 
Georgiana  in  the  Highlands.  A  manuscript  Life  of  Dr.  Couper  existed, 
from  which  most  of  the  above  particulars  were  contributed  to  the 
"Additional  Illustrations"  for  Johnson's  "Scots  Musical  Museum." 


48          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


RED   GLEAMS   THE   SUN 

Red  gleams  the  sun  on  yon  hill-tap, 

The  dew  sits  on  the  gowan, 
Deep  murmurs  through  her  glens  the  Spey, 

Around  Kinrara  rowin'. 
Where  art  thou,  fairest,  kindest  lass  ? 

Alas  !  wert  thou  but  near  me, 
Thy  gentle  soul,  thy  melting  eye 

Would  ever,  ever  cheer  me. 

The  laverock  sings  amang  the  clouds ; 

The  lambs  they  sport  so  cheery ; 
And  I  sit  weeping  by  the  birk — 

O  where  art  thou,  my  dearie  ? 
Aft  may  I  meet  the  morning  dew, 

Lang  greet  till  I  be  weary ; 
Thou  canna,  winna,  gentle  maid, 

Thou  canna  be  my  dearie. 


RED,   RED    IS   THE   PATH 

Red,  red  is  the  path  to  glory  ! 

See  yon  banners  floating  high ; 
O,  my  Geordie,  death's  before  ye ; 
Turn  and  hear  my  boding  cry. 

Joy  of  my  heart,  Geordie,  hear  me  ! 
Joy  of  my  heart,  Stu  mo  run  ! x 


'"My  own!" 


ROBERT    COUPER  49 

Turn  and  see  thy  tartan  plaidie 

Rising  o'er  my  breaking  heart ; 
O  my  bonnie  Highland  laddie, 

Wae  was  I  wi'  thee  to  part ! 
Joy  of  my  heart,  etc. 

But  thou  bleedst,  O  bleedst  thou,  beauty  ? 

Swims  thine  eye  in  woe  and  pain  ? 
Child  of  honour,  child  of  duty, 

Shall  we  never  meet  again  ? 
Joy  of  my  heart,  etc. 

Yes,  my  darling,  on  thy  pillow 

Soon  thy  head  shall  easy  lie ; 
Soon  upon  the  bounding  billow 

Shall  thy  war-worn  standard  fly. 
Joy  of  my  heart,  etc. 

Then  again  thy  tartan  plaidie — 

Then  my  bosom,  free  from  pain, 
Shall  receive  my  Highland  laddie  : 

Never  shall  we  part  again. 
Joy  of  my  heart,  etc. 


THE   SHEILING 

Oh  !  grand  bounds  the  deer  o'er  the  mountain, 
And  smooth  skims  the  hare  o'er  the  plain ; 

At  noon  the  cool  shade  by  the  fountain 
Is  sweet  to  the  lass  and  her  swain. 

E 


50          THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

The  evening  sits  down  dark  and  dreary ; 

Oh  !  yon's  the  loud  joys  of  the  ha' ; 
The  laird  sings  his  dogs  and  his  dearie, — 

Oh  !  he  kens  na  his  singing  ava. 

But  oh  !  my  dear  lassie,  when  wi'  thee, 

What's  the  deer  and  the  maukin  to  me  ? 
The  storm  soughin'  wild  drives  me  to  thee, 

And  the  plaid  shelters  baith  me  and  thee. 
The  wild  warld  then  may  be  reeling, 

Pride  and  riches  may  lift  up  their  e'e — 
My  plaid  haps  us  baith  in  the  sheiling 

That's  a'  to  my  lassie  and  me. 


MRS.    GRANT   OF    LAGGAN 
1755-1838 

IN  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth  century  the  Goosedubs  of  Glasgow  was. 
a  respectable  quarter.  There  Anne  M' Vicar  was  born.  Her  father  was 
an  officer  in  a  Highland  regiment,  and  on  her  mother's  side  she  was 
descended  from  the  Stewarts  of  Invernahyle.  Soon  after  her  birth  her 
father's  regiment  was  ordered  across  the  Atlantic,  and  took  part  in  the 
conquest  of  Canada.  M' Vicar  afterwards  resigned  his  commission  and 
settled  in  Vermont  on  his  military  grant  of  2000  acres,  which  he  added 
largely  to  by  purchase  of  the  grants  of  brother-officers.  Misfortune, 
however,  attended  him.  Forced  by  ill-health  to  return  to  Scotland  in 
1768,  in  1776,  on  the  outbreak  of  the  War  of  Independence,  he  was 
deprived  of  his  property  and  reduced  to  a  meagre  subsistence  as  barrack - 
master  at  Fort  Augustus  in  Glen  More.  There,  in  1779,  Anne  mairied 
the  Rev.  James  Grant,  the  military  chaplain,  who  forthwith  accepted 
the  parish  of  Laggan  close  by.  He  was  related  to  some  of  the  best 
families  in  Badenoch,  and  there  the  pair  led  an  uneventful  life  for 
twenty-two  years. 

Something  of  the  metal  the  minister's  wife  was  made  of  can  be 
guessed  from  the  fact  that,  in  order  to  fit  herself  for  her  duty  in  the 
parish,  she  studied  and  mastered  the  Gaelic  tongue.  She  had  already 
acquired  Dutch  for  the  sake  of  the  Dutch  friends  with  whom  she  stayed 
in  America.  Her  courage  and  force  of  character,  however,  were  to  be 
put  to  a  sterner  proof.  She  had  been  the  mother  of  twelve  children, 
and  eight  survived  to  her  when  in  1801  her  husband  died.  She  then 
found  herself  not  only  without  means,  but  considerably  in  debt.  Her 
home,  too,  the  manse,  must  be  given  up  to  her  husband's  successor. 
Many  women  would  have  sunk  in  despair,  but  the  minister's  widow  was 
made  of  stronger  stuff.  She  took  a  small  farm  in  the  neighbourhood, 
and  set  to  work  to  retrieve  the  position. 


52          THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

The  most  brilliant  part  of  her  life  was  yet  to  come.  From  her  earliest 
days  she  had  shown  an  instinct  for  letters.  In  the  American  colonies 
the  sergeant  of  the  regiment  who  had  taught  her  writing  had  given  her 
a  copy  of  Henry  the  Minstrel's  "Wallace,"  and  helped  her  to  read  it. 
"I  conned  it  so  diligently,"  she  wrote  in  after  days  in  her  memoir, 
' '  that  I  not  only  understood  the  broad  Scottish,  but  caught  an  admira- 
tion for  heroism,  and  an  enthusiasm  for  Scotland,  that  ever  since  has 
been  like  a  principle  of  life."  In  her  sixth  year  she  had  read  the  Old 
Testament,  and  pored  with  delight  over  "Paradise  Lost."  At  nine 
years  of  age  she  had  made  imitations  of  Milton ;  and  at  Glasgow,  after 
the  return  from  America,  she  had  written  several  pieces  of  merit.  Now, 
in  1803,  at  the  urging  of  friends,  she  gathered  her  verses  and  published 
them.  Three  thousand  copies  were  subscribed  for,  and  she  was  able  with 
the  proceeds  to  pay  all  her  debts.  She  moved  then  to  Stirling ;  and 
in  1806  her  "Letters  from  the  Mountains,"  a  collection  of  charming 
epistles  describing  Highland  lore  and  character,  which  she  had  written 
to  friends  from  Laggan ;  and  in  1808  her  "  Memoirs  of  an  American 
Lady  " — a  Madame  Schuyler,  with  whom  she  had  lived  for  several  years 
at  Albany — established  her  as  an  author.  In  1810  she  removed  to 
Edinburgh,  where  her  literary  accomplishments  and  brilliant  conversa- 
tion made  her  house  the  resort  of  men  of  letters  like  Lord  Jeffrey,  Henry 
Mackenzie,  and  Sir  Walter  Scott  Her  "Essays  on  the  Superstitions 
of  the  Highlands,"  "Popular  Models  and  Impressive  Warnings,"  and 
other  productions,  were  all  successful  books,  and  with  the  proceeds  of 
them,  with  several  legacies  from  friends,  and  with  a  pension  of  ;£ioo 
a  year  granted  her  in  1825,  she  found  a  comfortable  provision  till  her 
death  at  the  age  of  83. 

In  the  Gentleman's  Magazine  for  January,  1839,  appeared  a  de- 
tailed account  of  her  life  and  writings ;  and  a  collection  of  her  letters, 
with  a  memoir  by  her  son,  was  published  at  London  in  1844.  She  was 
styled  Mrs.  Grant  of  Laggan  to  distinguish  her  from  that  other  Mrs. 
Grant  "  of  Carron,"  author  of  "  Roy's  Wife  of  Aldivalloch. "  The  pre- 
servation of  many  interesting  Highland  traditions  was  owed  to  her.  One 
of  these,  quoted  by  Hill  Burton  in  his  "  Life  of  Lord  Lovat,"  from  a 
MS.  of  Mrs.  Grant,  gives  an  idea  of  her  vivid  style.  It  describes  the 
last  interview  between  Prince  Charles  and  Lovat  at  the  house  of 
Gortuleg,  near  the  Falls  of  Foyers,  just  after  Culloden.  "The  Prince 
and  a  few  of  his  followers  came  to  the  house  ;  Lovat  expressed  attach- 


MRS.    GRANT  53 

ment  to  him,  but  at  the  same  time  reproached  him  with  great  asperity 
for  declaring  his  intention  to  abandon  the  enterprise  entirely.  *  Remem- 
ber,' said  he  fiercely,  'your  great  ancestor,  Robert  Bruce,  who  lost 
eleven  battles,  and  won  Scotland  by  the  twelfth.'"  So  great  was  the 
repute  of  Mrs.  Grant's  knowledge  of  Highland  character,  custom,  and 
legend,  and  her  power  of  depicting  them,  that  for  a  time  she  was 
thought  to  be  the  author  of  "  Waverley  "  and  "  Rob  Roy." 


O   WHERE,   TELL   ME   WHERE?1 

"O  where,  tell  me  where,  is  your  Highland  laddie  gone? 

O  where,  tell  me  where,  is  your  Highland  laddie  gone  ?  " 
"  He's  gone  with  streaming  banners,  where  noble  deeds  are 

done, 

And  my  sad  heart  will  tremble  till  he  comes  safely  home. 
He's  gone  with  streaming  banners,  where  noble  deeds  are 

done, 
And  my  sad  heart  will  tremble  till  he  comes  safely  home." 

"  O  where,  tell  me  where,  did  your  Highland  laddie  stay  ? 

O  where,  tell  me  where,  did  your  Highland  laddie  stay  ?  " 
"  He  dwelt  beneath  the  holly  trees,  beside  the  rapid  Spey, 

And  many  a  blessing  followed  him  the  day  he  went  away. 

He  dwelt  beneath  the  holly  trees,  beside  the  rapid  Spey, 

And  many  a  blessing  followed  him  the  day  he  went  away." 


i  This  piece,  like  Robert  Couper's  "Red,  red  is  the  path,"  was  written 
on  the  absence  in  Holland  of  the  Marquis  of  Huntly  with  the  forces 
under  Sir  Ralph  Abercrombie  in  1799.  It  was  obviously  suggested  by 
"The  blue  bells  of  Scotland,"  sung  by  Mrs.  Jordan,  printed  in  the 
"Town  and  Country  Songster  for  1801,"  and  reproduced  in  Johnson's 
"Scots  Musical  Museum,"  vol.  vi.,  in  1803. 


54          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

"  O  what,  tell  me  what,  does  your  Highland  laddie  wear  ? 

O  what,  tell  me  what,  does  your  Highland  laddie  wear  ?  " 
"  A  bonnet  with  a  lofty  plume,  the  gallant  badge  of  war, 
And  a  plaid  across  the  manly  breast  that  yet  shall  wear  a 

star. 

A  bonnet  with  a  lofty  plume,  the  gallant  badge  of  war, 
And  a  plaid  across  the  manly  breast  that  yet  shall  wear  a 
star." 

"  Suppose,  ah !  suppose,  that  some  cruel,  cruel  wound 
Should  pierce  your  Highland  laddie,  and  all  your  hopes 

confound ! " 
"  The  pipe  would  play  a  cheering  march,  the  banners  round 

him  fly ; 

The  spirit  of  a  Highland  chief  would  lighten  in  his  eye. 
The  pipe  would  play  a  cheering  march,  the  banners  round 

him  fly ; 
And  for  his  king  and  country  dear  with  pleasure  he  would 

die. 

"But  I  will  hope  to  see  him  yet   in   Scotland's   bonnie 

bounds ! 
But  I  will  hope  to  see  him  yet   in   Scotland's   bonnie 

bounds ! 

His  native  land  of  liberty  shall  nurse  his  glorious  wounds, 
While  wide  through  all  our  Highland  hills  his  warlike 

name  resounds. 

His  native  land  of  liberty  shall  nurse  his  glorious  wounds, 
While  wide  through  all  our  Highland  hills  his  warlike 

name  resounds." 


MRS.    GRANT  55 


COULD    I    FIND   A   BONNIE   GLEN 

Could  I  find  a  bonnie  glen, 

Warm  and  calm,  warm  and  calm — 
Could  I  find  a  bonnie  glen, 

Warm  and  calm  ; 
Free  frae  din  and  far  frae  men, 
There  my  wanton  kids  I'd  pen, 
Where  woodbines  shade  some  den, 

Breathing  balm,  breathing  balm — 
Where  woodbines  shade  some  den, 

Breathing  balm. 

Where  the  steep  and  woody  hill 

Shields  the  deer,  shields  the  deer — 
Where  the  steep  and  woody  hill 

Shields  the  deer ; 

Where  the  woodlark  singing  shrill, 
Guards  his  nest  beside  the  rill, 
And  the  thrush,  with  tawny  bill, 

Warbles  clear,  warbles  clear — 
And  the  thrush,  with  tawny  bill, 

Warbles  clear. 

Where  the  dashing  waterfall 
Echoes  round,  echoes  round — 

Where  the  dashing  waterfall 
Echoes  round ; 

And  the  rustling  aspen  tall, 


56          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

And  the  owl  at  evening's  call, 
'Plaining  from  the  ivied  wall, 

Joins  the  sound,  joins  the  sound — 
'Plaining  from  the  ivied  wall, 

Joins  the  sound. 

There  my  only  love  I'd  own, 

All  unseen,  all  unseen — 
There  my  only  love  I'd  own, 

All  unseen ; 

There  I'd  live  for  her  alone, 
To  the  restless  world  unknown, 
And  my  heart  should  be  the  throne 

For  my  queen ! 


LEAVE   ME   NOT 

Oh,  my  love,  leave  me  not ! 
Oh,  my  love,  leave  me  not ! 
Oh,  my  love,  leave  me  not — 
Lonely  and  weary. 

Could  you  but  stay  a  while, 
And  my  fond  fears  beguile, 
I  yet  once  more  could  smile, 
Lightsome  and  cheery. 


MRS.    GRANT  57 

Night,  with  her  darkest  shroud, 
Tempests  that  roar  aloud, 
Thunders  that  burst  the  cloud, 
Why  should  I  fear  ye  ? 

Till  the  sad  hour  we  part 
Fear  cannot  make  me  start — 
Grief  cannot  break  my  heart 
Whilst  thou  art  near  me. 

Should  you  forsake  my  sight 
Day  would  to  me  be  night ; 
Sad,  I  would  shun  its  light, 
Heartless  and  weary. 


ON   A   SPRIG   OF   HEATH 

Flower  of  the  waste  !  the  heath-fowl  shuns 
For  thee  the  brake  and  tangled  wood ; 

To  thy  protecting  shade  she  runs ; 
Thy  tender  buds  supply  her  food. 

Her  young  forsake  their  downy  plumes 

To  rest  upon  thy  opening  blooms. 

Flower  of  the  desert  though  thou  art, 

The  deer  that  range  the  mountain  free — 

The  graceful  doe,  the  stately  hart — 
Their  food  and  shelter  seek  from  thee. 


58          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  bee  thy  earliest  blossom  greets, 
And  draws  from  thee  her  choicest  sweets. 


Gem  of  the  heath,  whose  modest  bloom 
Sheds  beauty  o'er  the  lonely  moor ! 

Though  thou  dispense  no  rich  perfume 
Nor  yet  with  splendid  tints  allure, 

Both  valour's  crest  and  beauty's  bower 

Oft  hast  thou  decked,  a  favourite  flower. 

Flower  of  the  wild,  whose  purple  glow 
Adorns  the  dusky  mountain's  side  ! 

Not  the  gay  hues  of  Iris'  bow, 
Nor  garden's  artful  varied  pride, 

With  all  its  wealth  of  sweets  could  cheer, 

Like  thee,  the  hardy  mountaineer. 

Flower  of  his  heart,  thy  fragrance  mild 
Of  peace  and  freedom  seems  to  breathe. 

To  pluck  thy  blossoms  in  the  wild, 
And  deck  his  bonnet  with  the  wreath, 

Where  dwelt  of  old  his  rustic  sires, 

Is  all  his  simple  wish  requires. 

Flower  of  his  dear-loved  native  land  ! 

Alas  !  when  distant  far  more  dear ! 
When  he,  from  some  cold  foreign  strand, 

Looks  homeward  through  the  blinding  tear, 
How  must  his  aching  heart  deplore 
That  home  and  thee  he  sees  no  more. 


MRS.    GRANT  59 


THE   GRAMPIANS1 

All  hail,  ye  frowning  terrors  of  my  way, 

Rude  Grampian  mountains,  crowned  with  lasting  snow ! 
No  flowery  vales,  or  plains  with  verdure  gay, 

Could  bid  my  soul  with  purer  joy  o'erflow. 
Barriers  of  holy  freedom  !  your  stern  brow 

With  guardian  frown  o'erlooks  her  last  retreat ; 
When  tyrant  rapine  roamed  the  plains  below, 

Among  your  winding  glens  she  found  a  seat. 
Beyond  those  dark  defiles  thy  narrow  vale, 

Green  Laggan  !  soon  shall  cheer  my  weary  sight ; 
Young  voices  sounding  on  the  mountain  gale 

Shall  fill  this  anxious  bosom  with  delight ; 
While  ruddy  innocence  with  raptured  smile 
Shall  cling  to  this  fond  heart,  by  absence  torn  erewhile. 


1  This  sonnet  is  included  in  a  rhyming  itinerary  of  the  author's  Jive 
days'  journey  from  Glasgow  to  Laggan,  the  second  longest  piece  in  her 
first  volume. 


JOHN    DUNLOP 

1755-1820 

AMONG  the  poets  of  Glasgow  have  been  counted  all  ranks  of  the 
citizens,  from  the  humble  skellat  bellman  to  the  stately  Lord  Provost 
himself.  The  memory  of  John  Dunlop  may  be  said  to  survive  by  reason 
of  one,  or  at  most  two,  short  songs.  Wherever  Scotsmen  gather  to  see 
the  old  year  out  and  the  new  year  in,  "  Here's  to  the  year  that's  awa'  " 
is  as  likely  to  be  sung,  almost,  as  "  Auld  Langsyne  "  itself.  The  author 
was  a  typical  Glasgow  citizen,  social  and  hospitable,  who  took  much 
pleasure  in  listening  to  Scottish  songs,  and  could  sing  them  himself  to 
good  effect. 

Born  at  his  father's  residence,  Carmyle  House,  in  the  parish  of  Old 
Monkland,  near  Glasgow,  he  was  a  young  man  when  the  red-cloaked 
"  tobacco  lords  "  were  strutting  their  proudest  at  the  Tron;  he  saw  the 
crisis  of  their  downfall  during  the  American  War;  and,  as  a  successful 
merchant  himself,  when  Glasgow  was  beginning  to  build  its  fortunes  on 
new  foundations,  he  was  Lord  Provost  in  1796.  He  afterwards  became 
Collector  of  Customs,  first  at  Bo'ness,  then  at  Port-Glasgow,  where  he 
died. 

During  his  life,  in  1817  and  1819  respectively,  Dunlop  printed 
privately  ten  copies  each  of  two  volumes  of  his  poetry,  and  he  is  said  to 
have  left  four  volumes  in  manuscript.  His  son,  who  was  Sheriff  of 
Renfrewshire,  and  author  of  a  "  History  of  Fiction,"  printed  privately 
in  1836  fifty  copies  of  a  further  small  collection  of  Dunlop's  pieces; 
and  in  "Dunlop  of  that  Ilk,"  by  Ex-Bailie  Archibald  Dunlop,  pub- 
lished at  Glasgow  in  1898,  the  poems  of  John  Dunlop  were  included, 
with  a  portrait  of  their  author.  Several  of  the  poet's  "Epitaphs"  on 
deceased  members  of  the  Hodge- Podge  Club,  to  which  Dunlop 
belonged,  were  included  in  the  club  minutes,  and  are  quoted  in 


JOHN    DUNLOP  61 

"  Glasgow  and  its  Clubs "  by  Dr.  Strang,  and  two  appear  in  the 
"Coltness  Collections"  printed  by  the  Maitland  Club.  Two  other 
of  Dunlop's  pieces  were  printed  from  his  MSS.  by  Dr.  Charles  Rogers 
in  the  "Modern  Scottish  Minstrel."  George  Farquhar  Graham,  when 
including  "The  year  that's  awa'"  in  his  collection,  gave  the  following 
details : — "  Mr.  Robert  Donaldson,  printer  in  Greenock,  now  in 
Glasgow,  having  been  reading  Dunlop's  poems,  thought  the  song  so 
good  as  to  be  worthy  of  an  air ;  and  calling  upon  Mr.  W.  H.  Moore, 
then  organist  there,  now  in  Glasgow,  hummed  over  to  him  what  he 
considered  might  be  a  melody  suited  for  it.  This  Mr.  Moore  re- 
modelled considerably,  and  published,  probably  about  the  year  1820. 
It  was  afterwards  taken  up  by  some  of  the  public  singers,  and  became 
very  popular." 


THE   YEAR   THAT'S   AWA' 

Here's  to  the  year  that's  awa' ! 

We  will  drink  it  in  strong  and  in  sma' ; 
And  here's  to  ilk  bonnie  young  lassie  we  lo'ed 

While  swift  flew  the  year  that's  awa'. 
And  here's  to  ilk,  etc. 

Here's  to  the  sodger  who  bled, 

And  the  sailor  who  bravely  did  fa' ! 
Their  fame  is  alive,  though  their  spirits  are  fled 

On  the  wings  of  the  year  that's  awa'. 
Their  fame  is  alive,  etc. 

Here's  to  the  friends  we  can  trust 

When  the  storms  of  adversity  blaw  ! 
May  they  live  in  our  song  and  be  nearest  our  hearts, 

Nor  depart  like  the  year  that's  awa' ! 
May  they  live,  etc. 


62          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


DINNA    ASK   ME 

Oh  !  dinna  ask  me  gin  I  lo'e  thee  ! 

Troth  I  dar'na  tell : 
Dinna  ask  me  gin  I  lo'e  thee  ! — 

Ask  it  o'  yoursel'. 

Oh  !  dinna  look  sae  sair  at  me, 
For  weel  ye  ken  me  true  :  ' 

Oh  !  gin  ye  look  sae  sair  at  me 
I  dar'na  look  at  you  ! 

When  ye  gang  to  yon  braw,  braw  toun, 

And  bonnier  lasses  see, 
Oh,  dinna,  Jamie,  look  at  them, 

Lest  you  should  mind  na  me  ! 

For  I  could  never  bide  the  lass 
That  ye'd  lo'e  mair  than  me ; 

And  oh,  I'm  sure  my  heart  would  break 
Gin  ye'd  prove  false  to  me  ! 


LADY   FRANCES   STEWART 

For  beauty  and  for  youth  let  others  weep ! 
Laid  by  the  hand  of  death  in  life's  last  sleep, 
Their  fate  lament,  their  merits  blazon  o'er, 
Lost  to  the  world  that  ne'er  shall  see  them  more. 


JOHN    DUNLOP  63 

Though  neither  youth  nor  beauty  slumbers  here, 
Yet  age  and  virtue  claim  the  parting  tear — 
A  tear  to  grace  the  spot  where  wisdom  lies, 
Wit  without  malice,  truth  without  disguise. 
Here  rests  religion,  void  of  vain  pretence, 
Founded  on  reason  and  matured  by  sense, 
With  every  Christian  attribute  adorned, 
By  all  who  knew,  who  felt  its  influence  mourned. 
Blest  be  the  heart  that  heaves  the  generous  sigh — 
Sacred  the  drop  that  springs  from  sorrow's  eye ! 
Yet  reason  shall  our  selfish  grief  restrain, 
And  check  the  tear  that  now  must  flow  in  vain. 
Far,  far  removed  from  sorrow's  sighs  and  tears, 
Thy  holy  spirit  dwells  in  heavenly  spheres, 
Welcomed  by  angels  to  their  high  abode, 
Pure  as  themselves,  and  reconciled  to  God. 


JOHN    MAYNE 
1759-1836 

AMONG  the  Scottish  poets  who  were  writing  at  the  same  time  as  Burns, 
John  Mayne  possesses  a  peculiar  interest.  His  "Hallowe'en"  obviously 
formed  the  model  for  the  famous  piece  on  the  same  subject  by  the 
Ayrshire  bard,  and  not  only  the  idea  but  the  actual  refrain  of  his  "  Logan 
Braes"  was  annexed  by  Burns  for  his  "Logan  Water."  On  his  own 
merits,  besides,  Mayne  is  entitled  to  high  consideration.  His  "Siller 
Gun,"  which  describes  a  relic  of  ancient  wapinschawing  surviving  in 
his  day  in  Dumfries,  remains  one  of  the  raciest  and  most  humorous 
examples  of  a  time-honoured  vein  of  Scots  poetry,  the  vein  of  James 
V's  "Christ's  Kirk  on  the  Green"  and  Fergusson's  "  Leith  Races." 
And  his  poem  "Glasgow,"  besides  affording  an  excellent  picture  of 
the  city  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  stands  among  the  most 
readable  of  Scottish  topographical  pieces. 

Born  and  educated  in  Dumfries,  the  poet  was  employed  for  a  time 
on  the  Dumfries  Journal,  but  removed  early  to  Glasgow,  where  he 
lived  at  the  Greenhead,  and  served  an  apprenticeship  of  five  years  as  a 
printer  with  the  celebrated  brothers  Foulis.  He  settled  in  London  in 
1787,  and  spent  the  remainder  of  his  life  in  the  metropolis  as  printer, 
editor,  and  part  proprietor  of  the  Star  newspaper.  A  brief  account  of 
Mayne's  somewhat  uneventful  career  appeared  in  the  Gentleman's 
Magazine  for  May,  1836,  and  in  The  Annual  Obituary  for  1837  ;  and 
some  supplementary  dates  were  furnished  by  his  son,  an  official  in  the 
India  House,  for  Laing's  Additional  Notes  to  Johnson's  "  Museum." 

"The  Siller  Gun,"  Mayne's  chief  work,  was  the  slow  growth  of  fifty- 
nine  years.  Twelve  stanzas  were  printed  on  a  single  quarto  sheet  at 
Dumfries  in  1777  ;  in  1779  it  was  published  in  two  cantos  ;  it  was  three 
cantos  when  it  appeared  in  Ruddimaris  Magazine  in  1780,  four  when 


JOHN    MAYNE  65 

it  was  printed  in  London  in  1808,  and  five  when  the  author  sent  it  out 
finally  in  1836.  In  the  same  way  the  two  first  stanzas  of  "  Logan 
Braes"  were  written  and  sung  at  Glasgow  in  1781,  and  printed  in  the 
6Varnewspaper  in  1789,  but  the  final  edition  of  the  lyric,  three  stanzas 
long,  was  only  printed  in  the  preface  to  "The  Siller  Gun"  in  1836. 
Stanzas  which  appeared  in  the  Paisley  Repository  in  1806  and  in  the 
Pocket  Encyclopedia  of  Songs  at  Glasgow  in  1816,  were  probably  not 
all  Mayne's.  The  song  was  written  to  replace  a  somewhat  indelicate 
old  ditty,  beginning — 

"  Ae  simmer  nicht  on  Logan  Braes 
I  helped  a  lassie  on  wi'  her  claes, 
First  wi'  her  stockings," — etc. 

"  Glasgow "  again,  was  printed  first  in  outline  in  The  Glasgow 
Magazine  for  1783,  and  might  have  remained  there,  but  Dr.  Geddes 
having  called  the  attention  of  the  Society  of  Antiquaries  to  it  in  flattering 
terms  in  1792,  Mayne  was  induced  to  take  it  up  again  and  extend  it. 
The  complete  poem  was  published  in  1803. 

"  Hallowe'en  "  appeared  first  in  Ruddimarfs  Magazine  for  November, 
1780,  and  again  in  an  edition  of  "  The  Siller  Gun"  in  1783,  but  Burns's 
"  Hallowe'en  "  superseded  it  so  completely  that  it  does  not  seem  to  have 
been  printed  again  till  1896,  when  it  was  included  among  Mayne's 
productions  in  the  Abbotsford  Series  volume,  "Scottish  Poetry  of  the 
Eighteenth  Century."  Other  of  Mayne's  pieces  were  printed  in  the 
columns  of  his  own  paper  and  the  pages  of  Ruddiman's  and  the 
Gentlemarfs  Magazine. 

Of  Mayne's  private  character,  Allan  Cunningham,  who  knew  him 
well,  said  "a  better  or  warmer-hearted  man  never  existed"  ;  and  of  his 
works,  "  'The  Siller  Gun,' "  Sir  Walter  Scott  declared,  "surpassed  the 
best  efforts  of  Fergusson,  and  came  near  to  those  of  Burns."  Mayne's 
"  Logan  Braes,"  again,  matched  on  its  own  ground,  fairly  excelled  the 
"  Logan  Water  "  of  the  Ayrshire  poet. 


66  THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

THE    SILLER   GUN 
Opening  description. 

For  loyal  feats  and  trophies  won 
Dumfries  shall  live  till  time  be  done  ! 
Ae  simmer's  morning,  wi'  the  sun, 

The  Seven  Trades  there 
Foregathered,  for  their  Siller  Gun  x 

To  shoot  ance  mair. 

To  shoot  ance  mair  in  grand  array, 
And  celebrate  the  king's  birthday, 
Crowds,  happy  in  the  gentle  sway 

Of  ane  sae  dear, 
Were  proud  their  fealty  to  display, 

And  marshal  here. 

O  George  !  the  wale  o'  kings  and  men  ! 
For  thee  in  daily  prayer  we  bend. 
With  ilka  blessing  Heaven  can  send 

May'st  thou  be  crowned  ! 
And  may  thy  race  our  rights  defend 

The  world  around ! 


i  The  "siller  gun,"  a  small  silver  tube  like  a  pistol  barrel,  was 
presented  by  James  VI.  as  a  prize  for  the  best  marksman  in  Dumfries. 
The  actual  weaponshawing  described  by  Mayne  was  that  of  1777. 


JOHN    MAYNE  67 

For  weeks  before  this  fete  sae  clever, 
The  folk  were  in  a  perfect  fever, 
Scouring  gun-barrels  in  the  river — 

At  marks  practising — 
Marching  wi'  drums  and  fifes  for  ever — 

A'  sodjerisin'. 

And  turning  coats  and  mending  breeks, 
New  seating  where  the  sark  tail  keeks ; 
(Nae  matter  though  the  clout  that  ekes 

Be  black  or  blue) ; 
And  darning,  with  a  thousand  steeks, 

The  hose  anew. 

Between  the  last  and  this  occasion 
Lang,  unco  lang,  seemed  the  vacation 
To  him  wha  wooes  sweet  recreation 

In  Nature's  prime, 
And  him  wha  likes  a  day's  potation 

At  ony  time. 

The  lift  was  clear,  the  morn  serene, 
The  sun  just  glinting  ower  the  scene, 
When  James  M'Noe  began  again 

To  beat  to  arms, 
Rousing  the  heart  o'  man  and  wean 

Wi'  war's  alarms. 

Frae  far  and  near  the  country  lads, 
Their  joes  ahint  them  on  their  yads, 


68          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Flocked  in  to  see  the  show  in  squads, 

And,  what  was  dafter, 
Their  pawkie  mithers  and  their  dads 

Cam'  trotting  after. 

And  mony  a  beau  and  belle  were  there, 

Doited  wi'  dosing  in  a  chair. 

For,  lest  they'd,  sleeping,  spoil  their  hair, 

Or  miss  the  sight, 
The  gowks,  like  bairns  before  a  fair, 

Sat  up  a'  night. 

Wi'  hats  as  black  as  ony  raven, 

Fresh  as  the  rose,  their  beards  new  shaven, 

And  a'  their  Sunday's  deeding  having 

Sae  trim  and  gay, 
Forth  cam'  our  Trades,  some  orra  saving 

To  ware  that  day. 

Fair  fa'  ilk  canny  cadgy  carl ! 
Weel  may  he  bruik  his  new  apparel, 
And  never  dree  the  bitter  snarl 

O'  scowling  wife ! 
But,  blest  in  pantry,  barn,  and  barrel, 

Be  blithe  through  life ! 

Hech,  sirs  !  what  crowds  cam'  into  town 
To  see  them  mustering  up  and  down  ! 
Lasses  and  lads,  sunburnt  and  brown, 
Women  and  weans, 


JOHN    MAYNE  69 

Gentle  and  simple,  mingling,  crown 
The  gladsome  scenes. 

At  first  forenent  ilk  deacon's  hallan 
His  ain  brigade  was  made  to  fall  in ; 
And  while  the  muster-roll  was  calling, 

And  joy-bells  jowing, 
Het  pints,  weel  spiced  to  keep  the  saul  in, 

Around  were  flowing. 

Broiled  kipper,  cheese  and  bread,  and  ham, 
Laid  the  foundation  for  a  dram 
O'  whiskey,  gin  frae  Rotterdam, 

Or  cherry-brandy, 
Whilk  after,  a'  was  fish  that  cam' 

To  Jock  or  Sandy. 

Oh,  weel  ken  they  wha  lo'e  their  chapin, 
Drink  mak's  the  auldest  swak  and  strappin', 
Gars  care  forget  the  ills  that  happen, 

The  blate  look  spruce, 
And  even  the  thowless  cock  their  tappin, 

And  craw  fu'  crouse. 

The  muster  ower,  the  different  bands 

File  aff  in  parties  to  the  sands, 

Where,  'mid  loud  laughs  and  clapping  hands, 

Gley'd  Geordie  Smith 
Reviews  them,  and  their  line  expands 

Alang  the  Nith. 


70          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

But  ne'er,  for  uniform  or  air, 

Was  sic  a  group  reviewed  elsewhere  : 

The  short,  the  tall,  fat  folk,  and  spare, 

Syde  coats  and  dockit, 
Wigs,  queus,  and  clubs,  and  curly  hair, 

Round  hats  and  cockit. 

As  to  their  guns — thae  fell  ingines, 
Borrowed  or  begged,  were  of  a'  kinds, 
For  bluidy  war,  or  bad  designs, 

Or  shooting  cushies — 
Lang  fowling-pieces,  carabines, 

And  blunderbusses. 

Maist  feck,  though  oiled  to  mak'  them  glimmer, 
Hadna  been  shot  for  mony  a  simmer, 
And  Fame,  the  story-telling  kimmer, 

Jocosely  hints 
That  some  o'  them  had  bits  o'  timmer 

Instead  o'  flints. 

Some  guns,  she  thrieps,  within  her  ken, 
Were  spiked,  to  let  nae  priming  ben ; 
And  as  in  twenty  there  were  ten 

Worm-eaten  stocks, 
Sae,  here  and  there,  a  rosit-end 

Held  on  their  locks. 

And  then,  to  show  what  difference  stands 
Atween  the  leaders  and  their  bands, 


JOHN    MAYNE  71 

Swords  that,  unsheathed  since  Prestonpans, 

Neglected  lay, 
Were  furbished  up,  to  grace  the  hands 

O'  chiefs,  this  day. 

"  Ohon  !  "  says  George,  and  gae  a  grane, 
"  The  age  o'  chivalry  is  gane  ! " 
Syne,  having  ower  and  ower  again 

The  hale  surveyed, 

Their  route  and  a'  things  else  made  plain, 
He  snuffed,  and  said  : 

"  Now,  gentlemen  !  now  mind  the  motion, 
And  dinna  this  time  mak'  a  botion — 
Shouther  your  arms  ! — Oh,  haud  them  tosh  on, 

And  not  athraw  ! 
Wheel  wi'  your  left  hands  to  the  ocean, 

And  march  awa'." 

Wi'  that  the  dinlin'  drums  rebound ; 
Fifes,  clarionets,  and  hautboys  sound  ; 
Through  crowds  on  crowds,  collected  round, 

The  corporations 
Trudge  aff,  while  Echo's  self  is  drowned 

In  acclamations. 

Their  steps  to  martial  airs  agreeing, 
And  a'  the  Seven  Trades'  colours  fleeing, 
Bent  for  the  Craigs — oh,  weel  worth  seeing  ! 
They  hied  awa' ; 


72          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Their  bauld  convener  proud  o'  being 
The  chief  ower  a'. 


Attended  by  his  body-guard 

He  stepped  in  gracefu'ness  unpaired, 

Straught  as  the  poplar  on  the  swaird, 

And  strang  as  Samson. 
Nae  e'e  could  look  without  regard 

On  Robin  Tamson. 

His  craft,  the  Hammermen  fu'  braw, 
Led  the  procession,  twa  and  twa ; 
The  leddies  waved  their  napkins  a', 

And  boys  huzzayed, 
As  onward  to  the  waponschaw 

They  stately  strade. 

Close  to  the  Hammermen,  behold, 

The  Squaremen  come,  like  chiefs  of  old ; 

The  Weavers,  syne,  their  flags  unfold ; 

And  after  them 
The  Tailors  walk,  erect  and  bold, 

Intent  on  fame. 

The  Sutors,  o'  King  Crispin  vain, 
March  next  in  turn  to  the  campaign ; 
And,  while  the  crowd  applauds  again, 

See,  too,  the  Tanners 
Extending  far  the  glittering  train 

O'  guns  and  banners. 


JOHN    MAYNE  73 

The  Fleshers,  on  this  joyous  day, 
Bring  up  the  rearward  in  array ; 
Enarmed  they  mak'  a  grand  display — 

A'  jolly  chiels, 
Able,  in  ony  desperate  fray, 

To  fecht  like  deils. 

The  journeymen  were  a'  sae  gaucy, 
The  apprentices  sae  kir  and  saucy, 
That,  as  they  gaed  alang  the  causey, 

Ahint  them  a' 
The  applauding  heart  o'  mony  a  lassie 

Was  stown  awa'. 


GLASGOW 

Hail,  Glasgow  !  famed  for  ilka  thing 
That  heart  can  wish  or  siller  bring ! 
May  Peace,  wi'  healing  on  her  wing, 

Aye  nestle  here ; 
And  Plenty  gar  thy  childer  sing 

The  lee-lang  year ! 

Within  the  tinkling  o'  thy  bells 
How  mony  a  happy  body  dwells  ! 
Where  they  get  bread  they  ken  themsels 

But  I'll  declare 
They're  aye  bien-like,  and,  what  precels, 

Hae  fouth  to  spare. 


74  THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

If  ye've  a  knacky  son  or  twa, 

To  Glasgow  College  send  them  a', 

Wi'  whilk,  for  gospel,  or  for  law, 

Or  classic  lair, 
Ye'll  find  few  places  hereawa' 

That  can  compare. 

There  ane  may  be,  for  sma'  propyne, 
Physician,  lawyer,  or  divine. 
,     The  gem,  lang  buried  i'  the  mine, 

Is  polished  here, 
Till  a'  its  hidden  beauties  shine, 
And  sparkle  clear. 

Nor  is  it  students,  and  nae  mair, 

That  climb  in  crowds  our  College  stair. 

Thither  the  learned,  far-famed,  repair 

To  clear  their  notions, 
And  pay  to  Alma  Mater  there 

Their  warm  devotions. 

Led  by  a  lustre  sae  divine, 
Ev'n  Geddes  visited  this  shrine. 
Geddes  !  sweet  favourite  o'  the  Nine ! 

Shall  live  in  story, 
And  like  yon  constellation  shine 

In  rays  o'  glory. 

O  !  Leechman,  Hutcheson,  and  Wight ! 
Reid,  fu'  o'  intellectual  light ! 


JOHN    MAYNE  75 

And  Simpson,  as  the  morning  bright ! 

Your  memories  here, 
Though  gane  to  regions  o'  delight, 

Will  aye  be  dear ! 

'Mang  ither  names  that  consecrate, 
And  stamp  a  country  gude  or  great, 
We  boast  o'  some  that  might  compete, 

Or  claim  alliance 
Wi'  a'  that's  grand  in  Kirk  or  State, 

In  art  or  science. 


Here  great  Buchanan  learnt  to  scan 
The  verse  that  mak's  him  mair  than  man. 
Cullen  and  Hunter  here  began 

Their  first  probations, 
And  Smith,  frae  Glasgow,  formed  his  plan- 

"  The  Wealth  o'  Nations." 

In  ilka  house,  frae  man  to  boy, 
A'  hands  in  Glasgow  find  employ ; 
Even  little  maids,  wi'  meikle  joy, 

Flower  lawn  and  gauze, 
Or  clip  wi'  care  the  silken  soy 

For  ladies'  braws. 

Their  fathers  weave,  their  mothers  spin 
The  muslin  robe,  so  fine  and  thin 
That,  frae  the  ankle  to  the  chin, 
It  aft  discloses 


76          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  beauteous  symmetry  within — 
Limbs,  neck,  and  bosies. 

Look  through  the  town  !     The  houses  here 

Like  noble  palaces  appear ; 

A'  things  the  face  o'  gladness  wear — 

The  market's  thrang, 
Business  is  brisk,  and  a's  asteer 

The  streets  alang. 

Clean-keepit  streets  !  so  lang  and  braid, 
The  distant  objects  seem  to  fade ; 
And  then,  for  shelter  or  for  shade 

Frae  sun  or  shower, 
Piazzas  lend  their  friendly  aid 

At  ony  hour. 

O  for  the  Muse  o'  Burns,  so  rare, 

To  paint  the  groups  that  gather  there  ! — 

The  wives  on  We'n'sdays  wi'  their  ware, 

The  lads  and  lasses 
In  ferlying  crowds  at  Glasgow  Fair, 

And  a'  that  passes  ! 

But  oh  !  his  Muse,  that  warmed  ilk  clod, 
And  raised  up  flowers  where'er  he  trod, 
Will  ne'er  revisit  this  abode ; 

And  mine,  poor  lassie  ! 
In  tears  for  him  dow  hardly  plod 

Through  Glasgow  causey. 


JOHN    MAYNE  77 

Wond'ring,  we  see  new  streets  extending, 
New  squares  wi'  public  buildings  blending, 
Brigs,  stately  brigs,  in  arches  bending 

Across  the  Clyde, 
And  turrets,  kirks,  and  spires  ascending 

In  lofty  pride. 

High  ower  the  lave  St.  Mungo  rears 
His  sacred  fane,  the  pride  of  years, 
And,  stretching  upward  to  the  spheres, 

His  spire  afar 
To  weary  travellers  appears 

A  leading  star. 

0  happy,  happy  were  the  hours 
When  first,  afar  on  Crawford  moors 

1  hailed  thee  bright  through  sunny  showers, 

As  on  I  came 

Frae  murmuring  Nith's  romantic  bowers, 
My  native  hame ! 

Blythe  days  !  ower  happy  to  remain  : 

The  sire  wha  led  my  steps  is  gane ! 

Yet  wherefore  should  the  Muse  complain 

In  dirge-like  lines, 
When  Heaven  has  only  ta'en  its  ain 

For  wise  designs  ? 

Still  happy,  happy  be  their  hours 

Wha  journey,  Clydesdale,  through  thy  bowers  ! 


78          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

And  blest  amang  the  angelic  powers, 

Blest  be  the  man 
Wha  saved  St.  Mungo's  hallowed  towers 

Frae  ruin's  han' ! 

And  O,  eternal  Truth,  all  hail ! 
May  thy  pure  dictates  aye  prevail ! 
But  ne'er  sic  times  let  Scotia  wail, 

When  Reformation, 
Mad  wi'  a  kirk-destroying  zeal, 

Spread  devastation. 

The  Muse,  whom  even  the  thought  appals, 
Hies  aff  where  Contemplation  dwalls, 
And  flichters  round  yon  ivied  walls, 

Where  rooks  are  cawing,— 
Round  sacred  Blantyre's  roofless  halls, 

To  waste  fast  fa'ing. 

And  thence  to  kindred  ruins  winging, 
Where  a'  the  arts  their  heads  are  hinging, 
Bewails  sad  genius  fondly  clinging 

Around  Melross. 
But  hark  !  the  music-bells  are  ringing 

At  Glasgow  Cross. 

'Tween  twa  and  three  wi'  daily  care, 
The  gentry  to  the  Cross  repair — 
The  politician,  wi'  grave  air, 
Deliberating ; 


JOHN    MAYNE  79 

Merchants  and  manufacturers  there 
Negociating. 

It's  not  by  slothfulness  and  ease 
That  Glasgow's  canty  ingles  bleeze ; 
To  gi'e  her  inland  trade  a  heeze 

As  weel's  her  foreign, 
She's  joined  the  east  and  western  seas 

Together,  roaring. 

Frae  Forth,  athort  the  land,  to  Clyde, 
Her  barks  a'  winds  and  weathers  glide, 
And  on  the  bosom  o'  the  tide, 

Wi'  gentle  motion, 
Her  vessels  like  a  forest  ride 

And  kiss  auld  Ocean. 

Nor  only  hers  what  trade  imparts. 
She's  great  in  arms  as  weel  as  arts  ; 
Her  gallant  sons,  wi'  loyal  hearts, 

A'  tak'  the  field, 
Resolved,  when  knaves  would  scatter  darts, 

Their  king  to  shield. 

And  yet,  though  armed  they  thus  appear, 

They  only  arm  while  danger's  near. 

When  peace,  blest  peace  !  to  them  maist  dear, 

Dispels  the  gloom, 
They  for  the  shuttle  change  the  spear, 

And  ply  the  loom, 


8o          THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

Hail,  Industry  !  them  richest  gem 
That  shines  in  Virtue's  diadem  ! 
While  Indolence,  wi'  tattered  hem 

Around  her  knee, 
Sits  chittering  like  the  withered  stem 

O'  some  boss  tree ; 

To  thee  we  owe  the  flocks  o'  sheep 

That  glad  Ben  Lomond's  cloud-capped  steep ; 

The  pregnant  mines  that  yield  yon  heap 

O'  massy  coals ; 
And  a'  the  tenants  o'  the  deep, 

Caught  here  in  shoals ; 

And  a'  the  villas  round  that  gleam, 
Like  spangles  i'  the  sunny  beam ; 
The  bonnie  haughs  that  laughing  seem 

Wi'  plenty  growing ; 
And  a'  the  bleachfields  on  ilk  stream 

Through  Clydesdale  flowing. 

Hence  Commerce  spreads  her  sails  to  a' 
The  Indies  and  America  : 
Whatever  mak's  ae  penny  twa, 

By  wind  or  tide 
Is  wafted  to  the  Broomielaw 

On  bonnie  Clyde. 

Yet,  should  the  best  exertions  fail, 
And  fickle  fortune  turn  the  scale, 


JOHN    MAYNE  81 

Should  a'  be  lost  in  some  hard  gale, 

Or  wrecked  on  shore, 
The  Merchants'  House  mak's  a'  things  hale 

As  heretofore. 

Wi'  broken  banes  should  Labour  pine, 
Or  Indigence  grow  sick  and  dwine, 
The  Infirmary,  wi'  care  divine 

Unfolds  its  treasure, 
And  turns  their  wormwood  cup  to  wine, 

Their  pain  to  pleasure. 

Oh  !  blessings  on  them  and  their  gear, 
Wha  thus  the  poor  man's  friends  appear, 
While  mony  a  waefu'  heart  they  cheer, 

Revive  and  nourish ! 
Safe  through  life's  quicksands  may  they  steer  ! 

Let  Glasgow  flourish  ! 

Wow,  sirs !  it's  wonderfu'  to  trace 
How  commerce  has  improved  the  place, 
Changing  bare  house-room's  narrow  space, 

And  want  o'  money, 
To  seats  of  elegance  and  grace, 

And  milk  and  honey. 

But  to  the  philosophic  mind 

What's  mair  than  wealth  and  grandeur  joined — 

Man  now  meets  man,  a'  frank  and  kind 

Wi'  ane  another, 
G 


82          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

And  is — what  Providence  designed — 
His  friend,  his  brother. 

On  Saturdays,  the  afternoon 

When  for  the  week  their  cares  are  done, 

They  dine  and  set  their  hearts  abune, 

And  tak'  their  coggie, 
And  fix  another  meeting  soon — 

They're  a'  so  voggie. 

Oh  !  while  they're  a'  carousing  there, 

Let  me  to  Kelvinside  repair, 

Or  Bothwell  banks  that  bloom  so  fair, 

Where  Lady  Anne 
Ower  her  sweet  bairn  lamented  sair 

The  wiles  o'  man. 

Or  at  Langside  past  scenes  review, 
And  round  yon  thorn  my  sighs  renew, 
Where,  when  the  vanquished  squadrons  flew 

That  came  to  fend  her, 
Lorn  Mary  bade  a  lang  adieu 

To  regal  splendour. 

Aft  Crookston,  frae  thy  castle  wa 
The  bugle  horn  was  heard  to  blaw ! 
Again  she  cast  a  look,  and  saw 

Thy  stately  towers — 
Lang  lingering,  till  the  last  huzza 

O'  rebel  powers. 


JOHN    MAYNE  83 

Nae  troops  to  guard  her  in  her  flight — 
Nae  friends  that  durst  assert  her  right — 
Nae  bower-maids  now,  wi'  fond  delight, 

Their  cares  employ 
To  cheer  at  morn  or  soothe  at  night 

Her  great  annoy. 

To  where  Dundrennan  Abbey  lay, 

Far  in  the  wilds  o'  Galloway, 

Ower  moss,  ower  moor,  up  bank,  up  brae 

The  mourner  goes, 
Nae  mair,  frae  that  disastrous  day, 

To  taste  repose. 

Still  at  Langside,  in  hillocks  green, 
The  traces  o'  the  camp  are  seen  ; 
Still  Fancy  paints  the  conflict  keen, 

And  figures  there 
The  angel  form  o'  Scotland's  Queen 

In  deep  despair. 

But  come,  my  Muse,  oh,  come  wi'  me, 

And  drap  a  tear  at  Ellerslie, 

Where  patriot  Wallace,  bauld  and  free, 

Begude  to  bloom  . 
Where  Freedom  still,  wi'  weeping  e'e, 

Laments  his  doom. 

O  Scotia  !  where  was  virtue  then  ? 
Say,  was  her  influence  a'  withdrawn, 


84          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

To  let  a  twa-faced  villain's  han' — 

Oh  !  endless  shame ! — 
Betray  the  godlike,  glorious  man, 

And  stain  thy  name  ! 

It's  late,  ower  late,  to  tak'  a  stride 
To  Leven  Water's  bowery  side, 
To  scud  across  the  Firth  so  wide, 

Where  ships  come  in, 
Or  paint  Barncluith,  the  Falls  o'  Clyde, 

And  Cora  Linn. 

Oh  could  I,  wi'  the  evening's  beam, 
Hie  aff  where  Lanark's  turrets  gleam, 
Through  birks  and  wildflowers,  frae  her  dream 

Awaken  Flora, 
And  woo  the  genius  o'  the  stream, 

Romantic  Cora ! 

Some  other  time,  when  birdies  sing, 
And  gowans  deck  the  teeming  Spring, 
The  Muse  shall  spread  her  eager  wing 

Their  charms  to  see, 
And  Clydesdale's  banks  and  braes  shall  ring 

Wi'  her  and  me. 

Whae'er  has  daunered  out  at  e'en, 
And  seen  the  sights  that  I  hae  seen, 
For  strappin'  lasses,  tight  and  clean, 
May  proudly  tell 


JOHN    MAYNE  85 

That,  search  the  country,  Glasgow  Green 
Will  bear  the  bell. 


There  may  ye  find,  in  sweetness  rare, 
The  blooming  rose,  the  lily  fair, 
The  winsome  look,  the  gracefu'  air, 

The  taste  refined, 
And  a'  that  can  the  heart  ensnare 

In  womankind. 

Yet  what  avails't  to  you  or  me 
How  bonnie,  gude,  or  rich  they  be, 
If  when  a  lad,  wi'  langing  e'e, 

But  mints  to  woo, 
They,  scornfu',  toss  their  head  ajee, 

And  crook  their  mou'  ? 

Wae's  me  for  him,  in  life's  sweet  morn, 
The  youth  by  hopeless  passion  torn  ! 
Toils,  pains,  and  plagues  are  eithly  borne, 

And  seem  but  sma', 
Till  Beauty  tips  the  rankling  thorn 

Wi'  bitter  ga'. 

Gin  ony  simple  lover  choose 
In  humble  verse  his  jo  to  roose, 
The  eident  porters  ne'er  refuse, 

For  little  siller, 
To  bear  the  firstlings  o'  his  muse 

Discreetly  till  her. 


86          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

But  when  the  youth,  wi'  meikle  care, 
Has  penned  a  sonnet  on  his  fair, 
Oh,  but  it  grieves  his  heart  right  sair, 

When  she,  grown  vain, 
Flings  his  epistle — gude  kens  where, 

In  proud  disdain. 

Hame,  ere  the  grass  is  wet  wi'  dew, 
Hame,  as  our  belles  are  flocking  now ! 
Sair,  sair  the  lazy  chairmen  rue 

Wi'  heavy  granes, 
That  e'er  our  streets  had  ought  to  do 

Wi'  braid  planestanes. 

Nae  lady  wants  a  chair  to  hire : 

Nae  skelping  now  through  mud  and  mire 

Wi'  coaties  kiltit  high  and  higher — 

Mid-leg  at  least — 
Eneugh  to  warm  wi'  young  desire 

The  aged  breast. 

And,  what  relieves  the  poet's  care, 

When  wi'  his  jo  he  tak's  the  air, 

His  lugs  will  now  be  deaved  nae  mair, 

When  siller's  done, 
By  chairmen  bawling,  "  Shuse  a  chair  ! — 

She'll  file  her  shoon." 

Nae  tongue  can  tell  the  taunts  and  rubs 
That  he  maun  thole  whom  poortith  snubs- 


JOHN    MAYNE  87 

Afttimes  frae  rich,  unfeeling  scrubs 

Wha're  meanly  willing 
To  trail  their  lasses  through  the  dubs 

To  hain  a  shilling. 

O  Glasgow  !  famed  for  ilka  thing 
That  heart  can  wish  or  siller  bring  ! 
May  nowther  care  nor  sorrow  ding 

Thy  childer  dear, 
But  peace  and  plenty  gar  them  sing 

Frae  year  to  year  ! 


THE    WINTER    SAT    LANG 

The  winter  sat  lang  on  the  spring  o'  the  year, 
Our  seedtime  was  late,  and  our  mailin'  was  dear ; 
My  mither  tint  her  heart  when  she  looked  on  us  a', 
And  we  thought  upon  them  that  were  far'est  avva'. 
Oh  were  they  but  here  that  are  far'est  awa' ! 
Oh  were  they  but  here  that  are  dear  to  us  a' ! 
Our  cares  would  seem  light  and  our  sorrows  but  sma', 
If  they  were  but  here  that  are  far  frae  us  a' ! 

Last  week,  when  our  hopes  were  o'erclouded  wi'  fear, 

And  nae  ane  at  hame  the  dull  prospect  to  cheer, 

Our  Johnnie  has  written  frae  far-awa'  parts 

A  letter  that  lightens  and  bauds  up  our  hearts. 

He  says,  "  My  dear  mither,  though  I  be  awa', 

In  love  and  affection  I'm  still  wi'  ye  a' ; 

While  I  ha'e  a  being  ye'se  aye  ha'e  a  ha', 

Wi'  plenty  to  keep  out  the  frost  and  the  snaw." 


88          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

My  mither,  o'erjoyed  at  the  change  in  her  state 
By  the  bairn  that  she  doted  on  early  and  late, 
Gies  thanks,  night  and  day,  to  the  Giver  of  a', 
There's  been  naething  unworthy  o'  him  that's  awa'. 
Then  here  is  to  them  that  are  far  frae  us  a' — 
The  friend  that  ne'er  failed  us  though  far'est  awa' ! 
Health,  peace,  and  prosperity  wait  on  us  a', 
And  a  blythe  comin'  hame  to  the  friend  that's  awa' ! 


LOGAN   BRAES 

By  Logan's  streams  that  rin  sae  deep 
Fu'  aft,  wi'  glee,  I've  herded  sheep — 
I've  herded  sheep,  or  gathered  slaes 
Wi'  my  dear  lad  on  Logan  Braes. 
But  wae's  my  heart,  thae  days  are  gane, 
And  fu'  o'  grief,  I  herd  my  lane, 
While  my  dear  lad  maun  face  his  faes, 
Far,  far  frae  me  on  Logan  Braes. 

Nae  mair,  at  Logan  Kirk,  will  he, 
Atween  the  preachings,  meet  wi'  me — 
Meet  wi'  me,  or  when  it's  mirk, 
Convoy  me  hame  frae  Logan  Kirk. 
I  weel  may  sing,  thae  days  are  gane  ! 
Frae  kirk  and  fair  I  come  alane, 
While  my  dear  lad  maun  face  his  faes, 
Far,  far  frae  me  and  Logan  Braes. 


JOHN    MAYNE  89 

At  e'en,  when  hope  amaist  is  gane, 
I  dander  dowie  and  forlane, 
Or  sit  beneath  the  trysting  tree 
Where  first  he  spak'  o'  love  to  me. 
Oh  !  could  I  see  thae  days  again, 
My  lover  skaithless  and  my  ain, 
Revered  by  friends,  and  far  frae  faes, 
We'd  live  in  bliss  on  Logan  Braes. 


JOANNA    BAILLIE 

1762-1851 

THOUGH  she  neither  was  born  nor  did  she  die  in  Glasgow,  Joanna 
Baillie  spent  her  girlhood  in  the  city,  and  took  from  it  probably  the 
most  enduring  impressions  of  her  life.  Descended  from  the  great 
Lanarkshire  family  which  claims  Sir  William  Wallace  as  its  progenitor, 
she  first  saw  light  in  the  manse  of  Both  well,  where  her  father  was 
minister.  She  was  of  premature  birth,  delicate  in  infancy,  and 
backward  in  her  early  studies  ;  but,  coming  to  school  in  Glasgow  at  the 
age  of  ten,  she  developed  rapidly,  and  showed  a  special  talent  for 
acting  and  improvising  dialogue.  In  1769  her  father,  Dr.  Baillie,  had 
removed  to  the  collegiate  charge  at  Hamilton,  and  in  1776  he  became 
Professor  of  Divinity  in  Glasgow  University  ;  but  he  died  two  years 
later,  and  for  five  years  his  widow  and  family  lived  at  Long-Calderwood 
in  Lanarkshire.  Joanna's  mother  was  a  sister  of  the  famous  brothers 
William  and  John  Hunter,  and  when  the  latter  died  in  1783  he  left  his 
house  and  collections  in  London  to  Matthew  Baillie,  Joanna's  brother. 
The  family  then  removed  to  London,  and  there  the  poetess  resided 
during  the  rest  of  her  long  life,  first  with  her  brother  in  Great  Windmill 
Street,  Piccadilly,  and,  after  his  marriage  to  Miss  Demnan,  sister  of  the 
Lord  Chief  Justice,  at  Red  Lion  Hill,  and  Bolton  House,  an  old- 
fashioned  building  behind  the  Holly  Bush  Inn  at  Hampstead.  For 
years  the  last-named  residence  was  destined  to  be  the  meeting-place 
of  many  celebrated  writers — Crabbe,  Rogers,  Campbell,  Washington 
Irving,  and  others. 

Her  first  publication  was  a  small  anonymous  volume  of  "Fugitive 
Verses"  in  1790,  which  showed  promise  and  attracted  considerable 
notice.  But  her  genius  only  found  its  real  measure  eight  years  later. 


JOANNA   BAILLIE  91 

"It  was  whilst  imprisoned  by  the  heat  of  a  summer  afternoon,  and 
seated  by  her  mother's  side  engaged  in  needlework,  that  the  thought  of 
essaying  dramatic  composition  burst  upon  her."  She  forthwith  began 
the  production  of  those  "  Plays  on  the  Passions"  with  which  her  name 
is  chiefly  associated.  The  opening  volume,  "A  Series  of  Plays:  in 
which  it  is  attempted  to  delineate  the  Stronger  Passions  of  the  Mind," 
contained  a  tragedy  and  a  comedy  on  Love,  and  a  tragedy  on  Hatred. 
The  publication  was  anonymous,  but  all  the  lettered  world  was  soon 
discussing  it.  An  amusing  anecdote  is  told  of  a  visit  paid  at  the  time  by 
Joanna  and  her  sister  to  Mrs.  Barbauld.  "  The  hostess,"  records  her 
niece,  Miss  Aikin,  "  immediately  introduced  the  topic  of  the  anonymous 
tragedies,  and  gave  utterance  to  her  admiration  with  that  generous 
delight  in  the  manifestation  of  kindred  genius,  which  always  distinguished 
her.  But  not  even  the  sudden  delight  of  such  praise,  so  given,  would 
seduce  our  Scottish  damsel  into  self-betrayal.  The  faithful  sister 
rushed  forward,  as  we  afterwards  recollected,  to  bear  the  brunt,  while 
the  unsuspected  author  of  the  '  Plays '  lay  snugly  wrapped  up  in  the 
asylum  of  her  taciturnity."  One  play  in  the  volume,  De  Monfort, 
was  produced  at  Drury  Lane  by  John  Kemble  and  Mrs.  Siddons,  and 
ran  for  eleven  nights.  But  the  best  fruit  of  the  book  was  an  acquaint- 
ance with  Sir  Walter  Scott  which  lasted  for  fifty  years,  and  remains  one 
of  the  most  famous  of  literary  friendships.  The  authoress  issued  further 
volumes  of  her  plays  at  intervals  down  to  1836,  some  of  them  following 
out  her  plan  of  portraying  single  passions,  while  others  were  cast  in  a 
more  popular  form,  in  the  hope  that  they  might  continue  to  be  acted 
"even  in  our  canvas  theatres  and  barns."  Perhaps  the  most  successful 
of  her  plays  from  this  point  of  view  was  Constantine  Palceologus, 
taken  from  Gibbon's  account  of  the  siege  of  Constantinople  by  the 
Turks.  It  was  produced  as  Constantine  and  Valeria  to  crowded 
houses  in  the  three  capitals  and  in  Liverpool.  Her  Family  Legend, 
also,  embodying  the  tradition  of  a  feud  between  the  Macleans  of 
Duart  and  Campbells  of  Lochow,  was  produced  at  the  instance  of  Sir 
Walter  Scott  in  Edinburgh,  and  proved  a  brilliant  success. 

Besides  her  plays  and  a  number  of  fine  songs  which  she  contributed 
to  Thomson's  and  Cunningham's  Collections,  and  John  Struthers'  Harp 
of  Caledonia,  Miss  Baillie  published  in  1821  a  volume  of  "Metrical 
Legends."  Its  chief  contents  had  for  their  subjects  exploits  by  Sir 
William  Wallace  and  Lady  Grizel  Baillie,  and  there  were  some  ballads 


92  THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

in  the  antique  fashion.  She  also,  in  her  seventieth  year,  produced  "A 
View  of  the  general  Tenor  of  the  New  Testament  regarding  the  Nature 
and  Dignity  of  Jesus  Christ,"  in  which  she  upheld  the  Unitarian 
view.  And  when  close  on  fourscore  years  of  age,  she  issued  a  new 
collection  of  "Fugitive  Verses."  A  poem  on  an  Indian  potentate, 
"Athalya  Baee,"  was  also  published  after  her  death.  She  died  at 
the  age  of  88,  in  full  possession  of  her  faculties,  and  in  the  act  of 
devotion.  Her  faithful  sister  survived  her,  and  died  ten  years  later 
at  the  age  of  100. 

Joanna  Baillie  was  described  in  middle  life  as  of  slender  form  and 
"under  the  middle  size,  but  not  diminutive,  her  countenance  indicating 
high  talent,  worth,  and  decision. "  Her  plays,  with  their  dignified  and 
sonorous  blank  verse,  remain,  probably,  "the  best  ever  written  by  a 
woman,"  and  must  rank  among  English  classics;  but  their  construction 
unfits  them  for  the  stage.  Perhaps  she  is  destined  to  be  best  remembered 
by  the  songs  which  she  contributed  to  her  native  minstrelsy,  and  by  her 
long  and  admirable  correspondence  and  friendship  with  Sir  Walter 
Scott.  The  poetess  was  in  Scotland  when  "  Marmion  "  first  appeared, 
and  she  was  reading  the  introduction  to  the  third  canto  to  a  circle 
of  friends  when  she  came  suddenly  upon  the  following  passage — 

"  Or,  if  to  touch  such  chord  be  thine, 
Restore  the  ancient  tragic  line, 
And  emulate  the  notes  that  rung 
From  the  wild  harp  which  silent  hung 
By  silver  Avon's  holy  shore, 
Till  twice  an  hundred  years  rolled  o'er ; 
When  she,  the  bold  Enchantress,  came, 
With  fearless  hand  and  heart  on  flame  ! — 
From  the  pale  willow  snatched  the  treasure, 
And  swept  it  with  a  kindred  measure, 
Till  Avon's  swans,  while  rung  the  grove 
With  Monfort's  hate  and  Basil's  love, 
Awakening  at  the  inspired  strain, 
Deemed  their  own  Shakespeare  lived  again." 

"Deeply  as  she  must  have  felt,"  says  her  biographer,  "she  read  the 
passage  firmly  to  the  end,  and  only  displayed  a  want  of  self-command 
when  the  emotion  of  a  friend  who  was  present  became  uncontrollable." 


JOANNA   BAILLIE  93 

What  her  feelings  must   have   been   at  such  a  tribute  can   only  be 
imagined. 

A  second  edition  of  Joanna  Baillie's  complete  dramatic  and  poetical 
works,  with  a  memoir,  was  issued  in  one  volume  in  1853. 


GOODNIGHT,   GOODNIGHT 

The  sun  is  sunk,  the  day  is  done, 

E'en  stars  are  setting,  one  by  one ; 

Nor  torch  nor  taper  longer  may 

Eke  out  the  pleasures  of  the  day  ; 

And  since,  in  social  glee's  despite, 

It  needs  must  be,  Goodnight,  goodnight ! 

The  bride  into  her  bower  is  sent ; 

The  ribald  rhyme  and  jesting  spent ; 

The  lover's  whispered  words  and  few 

Have  bid  the  bashful  maid  adieu ; 

The  dancing  floor  is  silent  quite, 

No  foot  bounds  there, — Goodnight,  goodnight ! 

The  lady  in  her  curtained  bed, 

The  herdsman  in  his  wattled  shed, 

The  clansmen  in  the  heathered  hall, 

Sweet  sleep  be  with  you,  one  and  all ! 

We  part  in  hope  of  days  as  bright 

As  this  now  gone, — Goodnight,  goodnight ! 


94          THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Sweet  sleep  be  with  us,  one  and  all ; 

And  if  upon  its  stillness  fall 

The  visions  of  a  busy  brain, 

We'll  have  our  pleasures  o'er  again 

To  warm  the  heart  and  charm  the  sight ; 

Gay  dreams  to  all !     Goodnight,  goodnight ! 


SAW   YE  JOHNNIE   COMIN'? 

"  Saw  ye  Johnnie  comin'  ?  "  quo'  she ; 

"Saw  ye  Johnnie  comin', 
Wi'  his  blue  bonnet  on  his  head, 

And  his  doggie  runnin'  ? 
Yestreen,  about  the  gloamin'  time, 

I  chanced  to  see  him  comin' 
Whistling  merrily  the  tune 

That  I  am  a'  day  hummin','5  quo'  she ; 
"  I  am  a'  day  hummin'. 

"  Fee  him,  faither,  fee  him,"  quo'  she ; 

"  Fee  him,  faither,  fee  him  : 
A'  the  wark  about  the  house 

Gaes  wi'  me  when  I  see  him. 
A'  the  wark  about  the  house, 

I  gang  sae  lightly  through  it ; 
And  though  ye  pay  some  merks  o'  gear, 
Hout !  ye  winna  rue  it,"  quo'  she ; 
"  No,  ye  winna  rue  it." 


JOANNA    BAILLIE  95 

"  What  wad  I  do  wi'  him,  hizzy  ? 

What  wad  I  do  wi'  him  ? 
He's  ne'er  a  sark  upon  his  back, 
And  I  ha'e  nane  to  gi'e  him." 
"  I  ha'e  twa  sarks  into  my  kist, 

And  ane  o'  them  I'll  gi'e  him ; 
And  for  a  merk  o'  mair  fee, 

Oh,  dinna  stand  wi'  him  ! "  quo'  she ; 
"  Dinna  stand  wi'  him. 

"  Weel  do  I  lo'e  him,"  quo'  she, 

"  Weel  do  I  lo'e  him  ! 
The  brawest  lads  about  the  place 

Are  a'  but  haverels  to  him. 
Oh,  fee  him,  faither !  lang,  I  trow, 

We've  dull  and  dowie  been  ; 
He'll  haud  the  pleugh,  thrash  i'  the  barn, 
And  crack  wi'  me  at  e'en,"  quo'  she, 
"  Crack  wi'  me  at  e'en  !  "  * 


IT  FELL  ON  A  MORNING 

It  fell  on  a  morning  when  we  were  thrang — 
Our  kirn  was  gaun,  our  cheese  was  making, 
And  bannocks  on  the  girdle  baking — 

That  ane  at  the  door  chapped  loud  and  lang. 


1  The  ancient  version  of  this  song  Burns  declared  to  be  unparalleled 
for  genuine  humour,  and  it,  with  its  fine  air,  inspired  him  to  write 
"Thou  hast  left  me  ever,  Jamie." 


96  THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

But  the  auld  gudewife  and  her  mays  sae  tight, 
O'  this  stirring  and  din  took  sma'  notice,  I  ween; 

For  a  chap  at  the  door  in  braid  daylight 
Is  no  like  a  chap  when  heard  at  e'en. 

Then  the  clocksie  auld  laird  o'  the  Warlock  Glen, 
Wha  stood  without,  half  cowed,  half  cheerie, 
And  yearned  for  a  sight  of  his  winsome  dearie, 
Raised  up  the  latch,  and  cam'  crousely  ben. 
His  coat  was  new,  and  his  o'erlay  was  white, 

And  his  hose  and  his  mittens  were  cosie  and  bien ; 
But  a  wooer  that  comes  in  braid  daylight 
Is  no  like  a  wooer  that  comes  at  e'en. 

He  greeted  the  carlin  and  lasses  sae  braw, 

And  his  bare  lyart  pow  he  smoothly  straikit, 
And  lookit  about,  like  a  body  half  glaikit, 
On  bonnie  sweet  Nannie,  the  youngest  of  a3, 
"  Ha  ha  !  "  quo'  the  carlin,  "  and  look  ye  that  way  ? 

Hout !  let  na  sic  fancies  bewilder  ye  clean  ! 
An  elderlin  man,  i'  the  noon  o'  the  day, 

Should  be  wiser  than  youngsters  that  come  at  e'en. 

"  Na,  na,    quo'  the  pawkie  auld  wife,  "  I  trow 

You'll  fash  na  your  head  wi'  a  youthfu'  silly 
As  wild  and  as  skeigh  as  a  muirland  filly : 
Black  Madge  is  far  better  and  fitter  for  you." 
He  hemm'd  and  he  hawed,  and  he  screwed  in  his  mouth, 
And  he  squeezed  his  blue  bonnet  his  twa  hands  between; 
For  wooers  that  come  when  the  sun's  in  the  south 
Are  mair  awkward  than  wooers  that  come  at  e'en, 


JOANNA    BAILLIE  97 

"  Black  Madge  she  is  prudent."     "  What's  that  to  me  ?  " 
"  She  is  eident  and  sober,  has  sense  in  her  noddle, 

Is  douce  and  respeckit."     "  I  carena  a  boddle  : 
I'll  balk  na  my  love,  and  my  fancy's  free." 
Madge  tossed  back  her  head  wi'  a  saucy  slight, 
And  Nannie  ran  laughing  out  to  the  green ; 
For  wooers  that  come  when  the  sun  shines  bright 
Are  no  like  the  wooers  that  come  at  e'en. 

Awa'  flang  the  laird,  and  loud  muttered  he, 

"All   the  daughters   of  Eve,    between   Orkney   and 

Tweed,  O— 
Black  and  fair,  young  and  auld,  dame,  damsel,  and 

widow, 

May  gang,  wi'  their  pride,  to  the  wuddy  for  me  ! " 
But  the  auld  gudewife  and  her  mays  sae  tight 

For  a'  his  loud  banning  cared  little,  I  ween  ; 
For  a  wooer  that  comes  in  braid  daylight 
Is  no  like  a  wooer  that  comes  at  e'en. 


POVERTY   PARTS   GOOD   COMPANY 

When  my  o'erlay  was  white  as  the  foam  o'  the  linn, 
And  siller  was  clinking  my  pouches  within, 
When  my  lambkins  were  bleating  on  meadow  and  brae, 
As  I  went  to  my  love  in  new  deeding  sae  gay, 

Kind  was  she,  and  my  friends  were  free ; 

But  poverty  parts  good  company. 
H 


98          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

How  swift  passed  the  minutes  and  hours  of  delight, 
When  piper  played  cheerily,  and  crusie  burned  bright, 
And  linked  in  my  hand  was  the  maiden  sae  dear, 
As  she  footed  the  floor  in  her  holiday  gear ! 

Woe  is  me !  and  can  it  then  be 

That  poverty  parts  sic  company  ? 

We  met  at  the  fair,  and  we  met  at  the  kirk : 

We  met  i'  the  sunshine,  we  met  i'  the  mirk ; 

And  the  sound  o'  her  voice  and  the  blinks  o'  her  een 

The  cheering  and  life  o'  my  bosom  ha'e  been. 

Leaves  frae  the  tree  at  Martinmas  flee, 

And  poverty  parts  sweet  company. 

At  bridal  and  fair  I've  braced  me  wi'  pride ; 

The  bruse  I  ha'e  won,  and  a  kiss  o'  the  bride  ; 

And  loud  was  the  laughter,  gay  fellows  among, 

As  I  uttered  my  banter,  or  chorussed  my  song. 
Dowie  and  dree  are  jestin'  and  glee 
When  poverty  spoils  good  company. 

Wherever  I  gaed  kindly  lasses  looked  sweet, 
And  mithers  and  aunties  were  unco  discreet ; 
While  kebbuck  and  bicker  were  set  on  the  board : 
But  now  they  pass  by  me,  and  never  a  word. 

Sae  let  it  be,  for  the  worldly  and  slee 

Wi'  poverty  keep  nae  company. 

But  the  hope  o'  my  love  is  a  cure  for  its  smart, 
And  the  spaewife  has  tald  me  to  keep  up  my  heart ; 
For  wi'  my  last  saxpence  her  loof  I  ha'e  crossed, 


JOANNA    BAILLIE  99 

And  the  bliss  that  is  fated  can  never  be  lost ; 
Though  cruelly  we  may  ilka  day  see 
How  poverty  parts  dear  company. 


WOOED   AND   MARRIED   AND   A' 

The  bride  she  is  winsome  and  bonnie, 

Her  hair  it  is  snooded  sae  sleek, 
And  faithfu'  and  kind  is  her  Johnnie, 
Yet  fast  fa'  the  tears  on  her  cheek. 
New  pearlins  are  cause  of  her  sorrow, 
New  pearlins  and  plenishing  too, — 
"  The  bride  that  has  a'  to  borrow 
Has  e'en  richt  mickle  ado  ! " 
Wooed  and  married  and  a' ! 
Wooed  and  married  and  a' ! 
Is  na  she  very  weel  aff 

To  be  wooed  and  married  and  a'  ? 

Her  mither  then  hastily  spak'— 
"The  lassie  is  glaikit  wi'  pride  ! 
In  my  pouch  I  had  never  a  plack 
On  the  day  when  I  was  a  bride. 
E'en  tak'  to  your  wheel  and  be  clever, 

And  draw  out  your  thread  in  the  sun  : 
The  gear  that  is  gifted,  it  never 
Will  last  like  the  gear  that  is  won. 
Wooed  and  married  and  a', 
Wi'  havings  and  tocher  sae  sma' ! 
I  think  ye  are  very  weel  aff 

To  be  wooed  and  married  and  a' ! " 


ioo        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

"  Toot,  toot !  "  quo'  her  grey-headed  faither ; 
"  She's  less  o'  a  bride  than  a  bairn : 
She's  ta'en  like  a  cowt  frae  the  heather, 

Wi'  sense  and  discretion  to  learn. 
Half  husband,  I  trow,  and  half  daddy, 

As  humour  inconstantly  leans, 
The  chiel  maun  be  patient  and  steady 
That  yokes  wi'  a  mate  in  her  teens. 
A  kerchief  sae  douce  and  sae  neat 

O'er  her  locks  that  the  winds  used  to 

blaw ! — 

I'm  baith  like  to  laugh  and  to  greet, 
When  I  think  o'  her  married  and  a' !  " 

Then  out  spak'  the  wily  bridegroom ; 

Weel  waled  were  his  wordies,  I  ween — 
"  I'm  rich,  though  my  coffer  be  loom, 

WiJ  the  blinks  o'  your  bonnie  blue  een. 
I'm  prouder  o'  thee  by  my  side, 

Though  thy  ruffles  or  ribbons  be  few, 
Than  if  Kate  o'  the  Craft  were  my  bride, 
Wi'  purples  and  pearlins  enew. 
Dear,  and  dearest  of  ony  ! 

Ye're  wooed  and  bookit  and  a' : 
And  do  ye  think  scorn  o'  your  Johnnie, 
And  grieve  to  be  married  at  a'  ?  " 

She  turned,  and  she  blushed,  and  she  smiled, 
And  she  lookit  sae  bashfully  down ; 

The  pride  o'  her  heart  was  beguiled, 

And  she  played  wi'  the  sleeves  o'  her  gown. 


JOANNA    BAILLIE  101 

She  twirled  the  tag  o'  her  lace, 

And  she  nippit  her  boddice  sae  blue, 
Syne  blinkit  sae  sweet  in  his  face, 
And  aff  like  a  maukin  she  flew. 
Wooed  and  married  and  a' ! 

Wi'  Johnnie  to  roose  her,  and  a' ! 
She  thinks  herseP  very  weel  aff 
To  be  wooed  and  married  at  a'. 


TAM   O'   THE   LIN 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  was  fu'  o'  pride, 
And  his  weapon  he  girt  to  his  valorous  side — 
A  scabbard  o'  leather  wi'  deil-haet  within  : 
"Attack  me  wha  daur ! "  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  he  bought  a  mear, 
She  cost  him  five  shilling,  she  wasna  dear ; 
Her  back  stuck  up  and  her  sides  fell  in  : 
"A  fiery  yaud,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  he  courted  a  may, 

She  stared  at  him  sourly,  and  said  him  nay ; 

But  he  stroked   down  his  jerkin   arid   cocked  up  his 

chin; 
"  She  aims  at  the  laird  then,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  he  gaed  to  the  fair, 
Yet  he  looked  wi'  disdain  on  the  chapman's  ware, 
Then  chucked  out  a  saxpence — the  saxpence  was  tin 
"There's  coin  for  the  fiddlers,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 


102         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  wad  show  his  lare, 
And  he  scanned  o'er  the  book  wi'  a  wiselike  stare. 
He  muttered  confusedly,  but  didna  begin  ; 
"  This  is  dominie's  business,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  had  a  cow  wi'  ae  horn, 
That  liket  to  feed  on  his  neighbour's  corn ; 
The  stanes  he  threw  at  her  fell  short  o'  her  skin  : 
u  She's  a  lucky  auld  reiver,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  he  married  a  wife, 
And  she  was  the  torment,  the  plague  o'  his  life ! 
''She  lays  sae  about  her,  and  maks  sic  a  din, 
She  frightens  the  baillie,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tarn  o'  the  Lin  grew  dowie  and  douce, 

And  he  sat  on  a  stane  at  the  end  o'  his  house ; 

"What   ails   thee,   auld   chield?"      He   looks   haggard 
and  thin : 

"  I'm  no  vera  cheery,"  quo'  Tarn  o'  the  Lin. 

Tam  o'  the  Lin  lay  down  to  dee, 
And  his  friends  whispered  softly  and  woefully, 
"  We'll  buy  you  some  masses  to  scour  away  sin," — 
"  And  drink  at  my  latewake,"  quo'  Tam  o'  the  Lin. 


JOANNA   BAILLIE  103 


LINES   TO   AGNES   BAILLIE 
ON    HER   BIRTHDAY 

Dear  Agnes,  gleamed  with  joy  and  dashed  with  tears, 

O'er  us  have  glided  almost  sixty  years 

Since  we  on  Bothwell's  bonnie  braes  were  seen, 

By  those  whose  eyes  long  closed  in  death  have  been — 

Two  tiny  imps,  who  scarcely  stooped  to  gather 

The  slender  harebell  or  the  purple  heather ; 

No  taller  than  the  foxglove's  spikey  stem, 

That  dew  of  morning  studs  with  silvery  gem. 

Then  every  butterfly  that  crossed  our  view 

With  joyful  shout  was  greeted  as  it  flew, 

And  moth  and  lady-bird  and  beetle  bright 

In  sheeny  gold  were  each  a  wondrous  sight. 

Then,  as  we  paddled  barefoot,  side  by  side, 

Among  the  sunny  shallows  of  the  Clyde, 

Minnows,  or  spotted  par  with  twinkling  fin, 

Swimming  in  mazy  rings  the  pool  within, 

A  thrill  of  gladness  through  our  bosoms  sent, 

Seen  in  the  power  of  early  wonderment. 

A  long  perspective  to  my  mind  appears, 
Looking  behind  me  to  that  line  of  years, 
And  yet  through  every  stage  I  still  can  trace 
Thy  visioned  form,  from  childhood's  morning  grace 
To  woman's  early  bloom,  changing  how  soon 
To  the  expressive  glow  of  woman's  noon, 


104        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

And  now  to  what  thou  art,  in  comely  age 

Active  and  ardent.     Let  what  will  engage 

Thy  present  moment — whether  hopeful  seeds 

In  garden-plot  thou  sow,  or  noxious  weeds 

From  the  fair  flower  remove,  or  ancient  lore 

In  chronicle  or  legend  rare  explore, 

Or  on  the  parlour  hearth  with  kitten  play, 

Stroking  its  tabby  sides,  or  take  thy  way 

To  gain  with  hasty  steps  some  cottage  door 

On  helpful  errand  to  the  neighbouring  poor — 

Active  and  ardent,  to  my  fancy's  eye 

Thou  still  art  young,  in  spite  of  time  gone  by. 

Though  oft  of  patience  brief  and  temper  keen, 

Well  may  it  please  me,  in  life's  latter  scene, 

To  think  what  now  thou  art,  and  long  to  me  hast  been. 

'Twas  thou  who  wooedst  me  first  to  look 
Upon  the  page  of  printed  book, 
That  thing  by  me  abhorred,  and  with  address 
Didst  win  me  from  my  thoughtless  idleness, 
When  all  too  old  become  with  bootless  haste 
In  fitful  sports  the  precious  time  to  waste. 
Thy  love  of  tale  and  story  was  the  stroke 
At  which  rny  dormant  fancy  first  awoke, 
And  ghosts  and  witches  in  my  busy  brain 
Arose  in  sombre  show,  a  motley  train. 
The  new-found  path  attempting,  proud  was  I 
Lurking  approval  on  thy  face  to  spy, 
Or  hear  thee  say,  as  grew  thy  roused  attention, 
"What !  is  this  story  all  thine  own  invention  ?  " 


JOANNA    BAILLIE  105 

Then,  as  advancing  through  this  mortal  span, 
Our  intercourse  with  the  mixed  world  began, 
Thy  fairer  face  and  sprightlier  courtesy 
(A  truth  that  from  my  youthful  vanity 
Lay  not  concealed)  did  for  the  sisters  twain, 
Where'er  we  went,  the  greater  favour  gain ; 
While,  but  for  thee,  vexed  with  its  tossing  tide, 
I  from  the  busy  world  had  shrunk  aside. 
And  now,  in  later  years,  with  better  grace 
Thou  helpst  me  still  to  hold  a  welcome  place 
With  those  whom  nearer  neighbourhood  has  made 
The  friendly  cheerers  of  our  evening  shade. 

With  thee  my  humours,  whether  grave  or  gay, 
Or  gracious  or  untoward,  have  their  way. 
Silent  if  dull — O  precious  privilege  ! 
I  sit  by  thee,  or  if,  culled  from  the  page 
Of  some  huge,  ponderous  tome  which,  but  thyself, 
None  e'er  had  taken  from  its  dusty  shelf, 
Thou  read  me  curious  passages,  to  speed 
The  winter  night,  I  take  but  little  heed, 
And  thankless  say  "  I  cannot  listen  now," 
'Tis  no  offence.     Albeit,  much  do  I  owe 
To  these,  thy  nightly  offerings  of  affection, 
Drawn  from  thy  ready  talent  of  selection  ; 
For  still  it  seemed  in  thee  a  natural  gift 
The  lettered  grain  from  lettered  chaff  to  sift. 

By  daily  use  and  circumstance  endeared, 
Things  are  of  value  now  that  once  appeared 
Of  no  account,  and  without  notice  past, 


106        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Which  o'er  dull  life  a  simple  cheering  cast. 

To  hear  thy  morning  steps  the  stair  descending, 

Thy  voice  with  other  sounds  domestic  blending ; 

After  each  stated  nightly  absence  met, 

To  see  thee  by  the  morning  table  set, 

Pouring  from  smoky  spout  the  amber  stream, 

Which  sends  from  saucered  cup  its  fragrant  steam ; 

To  see  thee  cheerly  on  the  threshold  stand, 

On  summer  morn,  with  trowel  in  thy  hand, 

For  garden  work  prepared ;  in  winter's  gloom 

From  thy  cold  noonday  walk  to  see  thee  come, 

In  furry  garment  lapped,  with  spattered  feet, 

And  by  the  fire  resume  thy  wonted  seat ; 

Aye,  e'en  o'er  things  like  these  soothed  age  has  thrown 

A  sober  charm  they  did  not  always  own ; 

As  winter  hoarfrost  makes  minutest  spray 

Of  bush  or  hedge-weed  sparkle  to  the  day 

In  magnitude  and  beauty,  which,  bereaved 

Of  such  investment,  eye  had  ne'er  perceived. 

The  change  of  good  and  evil  to  abide, 

As  partners  linked,  long  have  we  side  by  side 

Our  earthly  journey  held,  and  who  can  say 

How  near  the  end  of  our  united  way, 

By  nature's  course  not  distant  ?    Sad  and  reft 

Will  she  remain,  the  lonely  pilgrim  left. 

If  thou  be  taken  first,  who  can  to  me 

Like  sister,  friend,  and  home  companion  be  ? 

Or  who,  of  wonted  daily  kindness  shorn, 

Shall  feel  such  loss,  or  mourn  as  I  shall  mourn  ? 

And  if  I  should  be  fated  first  to  leave 


JOANNA   BAILLIE  107 

This  earthly  house,  though  earthly  friends  may  grieve, 

And  he  above  them  all,  so  truly  proved 

A  friend  and  brother,  long  and  justly  loved, 

There  is  no  living  wight  of  woman  born 

Who  then  shall  mourn  for  me  as  thou  wilt  mourn. 

Thou  ardent,  liberal  spirit !  quickly  feeling 
The  touch  of  sympathy,  and  kindly  dealing 
With  sorrow  or  distress,  for  ever  sharing 
The  unhoarded  mite,  nor  for  to-morrow  caring — 
Accept,  dear  Agnes,  on  thy  natal  day, 
An  unadorned,  but  not  a  careless  lay. 
Nor  think  this  tribute,  to  thy  virtues  paid, 
From  tardy  love  proceeds,  though  long  delayed. 
Words  of  affection,  howsoe'er  expressed, 
The  latest  spoken  still  are  deemed  the  best. 
Few  are  the  measured  rhymes  I  now  may  write : 
These  are  perhaps  the  last  I  shall  indite. 


ROBERT    LOCHORE 

1762-1852 

IN  the  time  of  Burns  there  were  at  least  two  poets  in  Glasgow  who 
could  claim  acquaintance  with  the  Ayrshire  bard.  One  of  these  was 
Robert  Lochore.  Born  three  years  after  his  great  contemporary, 
Lochore  had  spent  many  an  evening  with  Burns  and  his  "bonnie 
Jean,"  and  with  his  own  eyes  had  seen  the  author  of  "  Holy  Willie's 
Prayer"  reproved  on  the  cutty-stool  at  Mauchline  by  "  Daddy"  Auld. 

A  native  of  Strathaven,  the  younger  poet  himself  married  an 
Ayrshire  bride,  Isobel  Browning,  at  Paisley,  in  1786,  and  when  he 
died  at  last,  in  Glasgow,  had  survived  Burns  by  more  than  half  a 
century.  He  was  well  known  in  his  time  as  a  philanthropist,  and 
was  one  of  the  founders,  and  indeed  president  of  the  Glasgow 
Annuity  Society.  No  less  was  he  in  repute  as  a  poet,  his  metrical 
tales,  issued  as  brochures,  finding  a  wide  circulation  in  the  west  of 
Scotland.  Many  of  his  pieces  are  to  be  found  in  "  Poetry,  Original 
and  Selected,"  published  in  penny  numbers  by  the  Glasgow  poet- 
booksellers,  Brash  &  Reid,  in  the  years  1795-98.  Several  others, 
including  "A  Young  Kintry  Laird's  Courtship,"  were  issued,  also 
in  small  penny  numbers,  by  Cameron  &  Murdoch,  booksellers,  in 
Trongate.  One  piece  appeared  in  the  Kilmarnock  Mirror >  and  another, 
"  The  Extravagant  Wife,  or  the  Henpecked  Husband,"  in  the  Glasgow 
Magazine.  In  May,  1790,  Lochore  issued,  through  Brash  &  Reid, 
proposals  for  publishing  by  subscription  a  volume  of  "  Scottish  Poems 
on  Various  Subjects,"  and  to  the  prospectus,  by  way  of  specimen, 
appended  a  "Shepherd's  Ode."  But  the  project  seems  to  have  come 
to  nothing.  In  1815  he  collected  a  number  of  his  poems,  and  issued 
them  anonymously  under  the  title  of  "Tales  in  Rhyme  and  Minor 
Pieces."  And  when  he  died  he  left  a  mass  of  unpublished  manuscripts, 


ROBERT    LOCHORE  109 

poems  and  memoirs,  now  in  the  hands  of  his  grandsons,  Mr.  Robert 
Brodie,  writer,  and  Mr.  Maclean  Brodie,  C.A.,  Glasgow.  It  is  to  be 
hoped  that  they  may  yet  be  given  to  the  public.  The  memoir,  in  particu- 
lar, contains  hitherto  unknown  details  at  first  hand  of  the  relationship 
of  Burns  and  Jean  Armour,  of  romantic  and  quite  exceptional  interest. 
From  the  manuscripts  one  metrical  tale,  "Walter's  Waddin',''  was 
included  in  Wilson's  "Poets  and  Poetry  of  Scotland"  in  1884.  After 
the  poetic  fashion  of  his  time — the  example  set  half  a  century  previous 
by  Hamilton  of  Gilbertfield — Lochore  was  in  early  life  author  of  many 
rhyming  epistles  to  friends,  and  in  his  eighty-eighth  year  he  wrote  a 
spirited  "Last  Speech  of  the  Auld  Brig  of  Glasgow  on  being  con- 
demned to  be  taken  down,"  which  attracted  no  little  attention.  After 
appearing  in  the  Reformers'  Gazette  it  was  hawked  about  the  streets 
early  in  1850.  There  are  persons  still  living  who  remember  hearing 
the  cry  of  the  vendors  selling  the  Last  Speech  as  "by  an  auld  and 
respeckit  citizen  o'  Glesca."  A  copy,  taken  from  a  manuscript  in  a 
family  album,  was  communicated  to  the  Glasgow  Herald  by  Mr.  Robert 
Brodie  in  August,  1892.  Lochore's  songs  were  a  favourite  entertain- 
ment at  the  Hodge  Podge  and  other  social  clubs  for  which  the  city 
was  famous  in  his  day,  and  they  are  to  be  found  yet  in  every  song 
collection.  The  metrical  tales,  of  which  he  was  a  prolific  writer, 
remain  racy  with  a  shrewd  knowledge  of  human  nature,  and  a  dry 
humour  which  is  as  amusing  as  it  is  sui  generis.  The  verses  here 
printed,  "To  the  Reverend  Thomas  Bell,"  are  given  by  kind  per- 
mission of  Mr.  Robert  Brodie,  from  a  manuscript  in  the  album  above 
referred  to.  The  notes  appended  are  those  of  the  poet  himself. 

Lochore  is  remembered  as  an  artless  and  unsuspecting  old  man — 
simple,  kindly,  and  sterlingly  true.  He  loved  young  people,  and  to 
the  end  remained  a  boy  himself  in  heart,  taking  pleasure  even  in  going 
to  see  the  shows  at  Fair  time  on  Glasgow  Green.  So  regular  was  he  in 
his  habits  that  the  maids  in  South  Portland  Street,  through  which  he 
passed  between  his  house  and  place  of  business,  took,  it  is  said,  the  hour 
from  him.  In  his  latter  days  he  spent  a  good  deal  of  time  at  Drymen, 
where  his  son,  Dr.  Alexander  Lochore,  was  parish  minister  for  fifty- 
three  years,  and  his  daughter  was  married  to  Mr.  William  Brodie  of 
Endrickbank.  When  father  and  son  walked  together  they  were  fre- 
quently mistaken  for  each  other,  Dr.  Lochore's  hair  having  become 
white,  while  his  father's  remained  thick  and  dark. 


no        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 


TO    THE    REVEREND    THOMAS    BELL 

MINISTER  OF  THE  DOVEHILL  CHURCH,  GLASGOW,  ON 

HEARING  HIM  PREACH  AT  BELLSHILL  IN  THE 

MONTH  OF  JUNE,  1792. 

Truth  from  his  lips  prevailed  with  double  sway. — GOLDSMITH. 

I'm  blythe  to  see  you,  reverend  Daddy  ! 
Upo'  your  stool  ye  sit  fu'  steady : 1 
Wi'  flirds  an'  airs  ye're  nae  way  gaudy ; 

An'  though  ye're  frail, 
Yet  crouse  ye  craw,  an'  ha'e  aye  ready 

Your  knacky  tale. 

Grave,  gash,  auldfarran,  snack,  an'  snell, 
An'  plainly  ye  your  erran'  tell ; 
On  a'  the  points  on  whilk  ye  dwell 

Ye  speak  sae  clear, 
That  ilka  body  sees  ye're  fell 

An'  fu'  o'  lear. 

I  wat  ye're  neither  blate  nor  lame 
When  ye  our  fauts  sae  plainly  name ; 
Ye  mak'  the  best  o's  a'  think  shame, 

Ye  sae  describe  us ; 
But,  sonsy  Sir,  ye're  no  to  blame 

Although  ye  jibe  us. 


i  He  sat  on  a  clerk's  stool  when  he  preached,  for  a  weakness  in  his 
legs. 


ROBERT    LOCHORE  in 

The  Pope  an'  a'  his  haughty  crew 
Get  mony  a  taunt  an'  jeer  frae  you ; « 
Socinians  also  get  their  due 

In  very  deed  j 2 
For  ye  expose  their  points  to  view, 

An'  tear  their  creed. 

Your  subjects  are  a'  finely  deckit 

Wi'  bonnie  words,  weel  waled  an'  pickit, 

An'  a'  into  the  heart  direckit 

Wi'  special  care ; 
Which  mak's  ye  be  sae  much  respeckit 

Maist  ilka  where. 

Thrice  favour't  flock  whare  ye  preside  ! 
Wha're  richly  blessed  wi'  sic  a  guide ; 
To  evangelic  pastures  wide 

Ye  do  them  lead, 
Whare  ye  wad  ha'e  them  to  abide 

An'  sweetly  feed. 

Hail !  worthy  orthodox  divine  ! 
Lang  may  ye  water  Scotia's  vine, 


1  An  attempt  to  convert  the  Pope.     John  Pirret,  a  fanatical  Quaker, 
travelled  to  Rome  about  the  year  1655  for  the  purpose  of  attempting  to 
convert  the  Pope.      His  project  was  rendered  abortive  by  the  Holy 
Inquisition,  but  after  many  examinations,  considered  a  madman,  he 
was  released,   and  on  his   return    home    published  a  book    entitled 
"Battering  Rams  against  Rome." 

2  Alluding  to  a  volume  of  sermons  by  Bell  against  Popery,  and  a 
translation  of  a  Dutch  work  by  Peter  Allinga,  with  notes  of  his  own. 


ii2         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

An'  whan  it  is  your  Master's  min' 

To  seal  your  eyes, 
Then  everblooming  may  ye  shine 

Aboon  the  skies.1 


MARRIAGE   AND   THE   CARE   OT 

Quoth  Rob  to  Kate,  "  My  sonsy  dear, 
I've  wooed  ye  mair  than  half  a  year, 
An'  gif  ye'd  tak'  me  ne'er  could  speer, 

Wi'  blateness  an'  the  care  o't. 
Now  to  the  point — sincere  I'm  wi't — 
Will  ye  be  my  half  marrow,  sweet  ? 
Shake  hands,  and  say  a  bargain  be't, 

An'  think  na  on  the  care  o't," 

"  Na,  na,"  quo'  Kate,  "  I  winna  wed. 
O'  sic  a  snare  I'll  aye  be  redd. 
How  mony,  thoughtless,  are  misled 

By  marriage  an'  the  care  o't. 
A  single  life's  a  life  o'  glee  ; 
A  wife  ne'er  think  to  mak'  o'  me ; 
Frae  toil  an'  sorrow  I'se  keep  free, 
An'  a'  the  dule  an'  care  o't." 


He  died  on  the  I5th  October,  1802,  aged  69. 


ROBERT    LOCHORE  113 

"  Weel,  weel,"  said  Robin  in  reply, 
"Ye  ne'er  again  shall  me  deny : 
Ye  may  a  toothless  maiden  die 

For  me ;  I'll  tak'  nae  care  o't. 
Fareweel  for  ever !     Aff  I  hie." 
Sae  took  his  leave  without  a  sigh. 
"  Oh,  stop  !  "  quo'  she,  "  I'm  yours ;  I'll  try 
The  married  life  an'  care  o't." 

Rab  wheeled  about,  to  Kate  cam'  back, 
An'  gae  her  mou'  a  hearty  smack, 
Syne  lengthened  out  a  loving  crack 

'Bout  marriage  an*  the  care  o't. 
Though  as  she  thocht  she  didna  speak, 
An'  lookit  unco  mim  an'  meek, 
Yet  blithe  was  she  wi'  Rab  to  cleek 

In  marriage  an'  the  care  o't. 


A   YOUNG   KINTRY    LAIRD'S    COURTSHIP 

Now  Jenny  lass,  my  bonnie  bird, 

My  daddy's  dead  and  a'  that, 
He's  snugly  laid  aneath  the  yird, 
An'  I'm  his  heir  and  a'  that. 
An'  a'  that,  an'  a'  that, 
I'm  now  a  laird  an'  a'  that, 
His  gear  an'  lan's  at  my  comman', 
An'  muckle  mair  than  a'  that. 


ii4        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

He  left  me  wi'  his  dyin'  breath 
A  dwellin'-house,  an*  a'  that, 
A  byre,  a  barn,  an'  wabs  o'  claith, 
A  big  peat  stack,  an'  a'  that. 
An'  a'  that,  an'  a'  that, 
A  mare,  a  foal,  an'  a'  that ; 
Sax  tidy  kye,  a  calf  forby, 
An'  twa  pet  yowes,  an'  a'  that. 

A  yard,  a  meadow,  lang  braid  leas, 

An'  stacks  o'  corn,  an'  a'  that, 
Enclosed  weel  wi'  thorns  an'  trees, 
An'  carts,  an'  cars,  an'  a'  that. 
An'  a'  that,  an'  a*  that, 
A  pleugh,  an'  graith,  an'  a'  that, 
Gude  harrows  twa,  cock,  hens,  an'  a', 
And  far  mae  things  than  a'  that. 

I've  heaps  o'  claes  for  ilka  days, 

An'  Sundays  too,  an'  a'  that, 
I've  bills  an'  bands  on  lairds  o'  lands, 
An'  siller,  gowd,  an'  a'  that. 
An'  a'  that,  an'  a'  that, 
What  think  ye,  lass,  o'  a'  that  ? 
What  want  I  now,  my  dainty  dow, 
But  just  a  wife  to  a'  that  ? 

Then  Jenny  dear,  my  erran'  here 

Is  to  seek  you  to  a'  that, 
My  breast's  a'  lovvin'  while  I  speer 

Gif  ye'll  tak'  me,  an'  a'  that. 


ROBERT   LOCHORE  115 

An'  a'  that,  an'  a'  that— 
Mysel'  an'  gear,  an'  a'  that, 
Come  gie's  your  loof  to  be  a  prool 
Ye'll  be  my  wife  an'  a'  that. 

Fair  Jenny  clashed  her  nieve  in  his, 

Said  she'd  tak'  him  an'  a'  that, 
While  he  gae  her  a  sappy  kiss, 
An'  dautit  her,  an'  a'  that. 
An'  a'  that,  an'  a'  that— 
They  set  the  day,  an'  a'  that, 
When  she'd  gang  hame  to  be  his  dame, 
An'  hae  a  rant,  an'  a'  that.1 

i  In  Urbani's  "Original  Collection  of  Scottish  Airs,"  II.  65,  this 
song  is  wrongly  attributed  to  Burns. 


WILLIAM    REID 

1764-1831 

A  PECULIAR  kind  of  fame  attends  the  memory  of  the  bookseller-poet  of 
Glasgow.  His  forte  seemed  to  be,  not  so  much  the  writing  of  original 
'  songs,  as  the  adding  of  an  "  eke  "  to  the  songs  of  others.  Partly  for 
this  reason,  perhaps,  no  collection  of  his  poetry  has  been  made,  and  his 
name  has  been  passed  over  by  the  compilers  of  biography.  Yet  his  was 
an  interesting  figure  in  the  Glasgow  of  his  time,  his  shop  in  Trongate 
was  the  earliest  of  those  literary  howffs  of  which  there  have  been 
several  later  in  the  city.  He  was  the  compiler  of  the  earliest  collection 
of  Glasgow  poetry,  and  some  of  his  own  pieces  remain  among  the  most 
popular  of  Scottish  songs. 

The  few  extant  facts  of  his  life  were  furnished  by  his  partner,  James 
Brash,  at  the  request  of  David  Laing,  who  printed  them  in  his 
"Additional  Illustrations"  of  Johnson's  "Museum."  The  poet  was 
born  in  Glasgow,  his  parents  being  Robert  Reid,  baker  there,  and 
Christian  Wood,  daughter  of  a  farmer  at  Gartmore,  near  Aberfoyle.  He 
received  a  good  education,  and  after  a  time  in  Andrew  Wilson's  type- 
foundry,  served  an  apprenticeship  with  a  firm  of  booksellers,  Dunlop  & 
Wilson.  In  1790  he  left  that  employment,  and  began  business  for  him- 
self, in  partnership  with  James  Brash.  In  their  shop  in  Trongate,  Brash 
&  Reid  for  twenty-seven  years  carried  on  a  highly  respectable  business, 
varying  the  ordinary  routine  of  bookselling  with  an  occasional  publishing 
venture.  One  of  their  publications — "Poetry,  Original  and  Selected," 
appeared  in  penny  numbers  during  the  years  1795-1798,  and  forms 
four  volumes.  It  was  modelled  evidently  on  Ramsay's  "Tea-Table 
Miscellany,"  and  includes  a  number  of  Reid's  own  compositions,  as  well 
as  pieces  by  his  contemporary,  Robert  Lochore.  Reid  died  at  Glasgow, 
November  29th,  1831,  leaving  a  widow,  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  James 
Henderson,  linen-printer,  Newhall,  and  two  sons  and  five  daughters. 


WILLIAM   REID  117 

The  bookseller-poet  was  one  of  the  "characters"  of  Glasgow  in  his 
day.  He  had  certain  rhymes  with  which  he  used  to  answer  inquiries  of 
customers  in  his  shop.  One  of  them  ran — 

"  The  yill  trade,  the  gill  trade, 
The  signing  of  bills  is  an  ill  trade." 

He  was  bard,  too,  of  the  famous  Duck  Club  which  met  and  ate  in  the 
Bunhouse  Tavern  at  Partick,  and  a  number  of  his  effusions  owe  their 
preservation  to  the  club's  minutes.  Dr.  Strang,  in  "Glasgow  and  its 
Clubs"  (page  402)  has  preserved  the  following  account  of  him.  "To 
a  peculiarly  placid  temper  he  united  a  strong  smack  of  broad  humour 
and  an  endless  string  of  personal  anecdotes,  which  he  detailed  with  a 
gusto  all  his  own.  Of  all  things  he  loved  a  joke,  and  indulged  in  this 
vein  even  at  the  risk  of  causing  the  momentary  displeasure  either  of  an 
acquaintance  or  a  customer.  To  laugh  and  grow  fat  was  his  constant 
motto,  and  he  never  troubled  himself  either  about  his  own  obesity  or 
about  that  of  any  one  else  who  might  follow  his  laughing  example." 
Several  humorous  stories  regarding  the  poet  were  recounted  by  M'Vean, 
the  bookseller  of  High  Street,  in  his  "  Budget  of  Anecdote  and  Wit." 

Besides  his  poetry  Reid  wrote  a  life  of  M'Kean,  the  High  Street 
shoemaker,  executed  at  Glasgow  Cross  in  1797  for  the  murder  of  the 
Lanark  carrier.  He  got  the  facts  from  the  man  himself  lying  under 
sentence  in  Glasgow  prison,  and  "though  neither  remarkable  for  taste 
nor  talent "  the  book  had  an  immense  sale.  * 

Reid  was  an  early  friend  of  Robert  Burns,  and  one  of  his  best- 
known  pieces  is  the  addition  of  sixteen  lines,  given  below,  under  the 
title  of  "Sweet  lovely  Jean,"  which  he  made  to  the  love-song  of  the 
Ayrshire  poet — "Of  a'  the  airts  the  wind  can  blaw."  In  this  he  only 
followed  the  example  of  Hamilton,  the  Edinburgh  music-seller,  whose 
sixteen  lines  are  hardly  inferior  to  the  original  sixteen  of  Burns 
himself.  In  "Poetry,  Original  and  Selected,"  Reid  also  printed  a 


XA  full  account  of  this  murderer  and  his  crime  is  given  by  "Senex"  in 
"Glasgow  Past  and  Present."  M'Kean,  with  his  outward  respectability  and  secret 
crimes,  seems  to  have  been  another  Deacon  Brodie.  His  skeleton  is  preserved  in 
Glasgow  University.  The  murder  excited  an  intense  interest  in  its  time.  Sir  Walter 
Scott  had  the  curiosity  to  attend  the  trial,  and  in  his  copy  of  the  "  Life"  by  Reid 
inserted  a  note  detailing  a  visit  he  too  had  paid  to  the  murderer  under  sentence  of 
death.— See  Lockhart's  "  Life  of  Scott,"  chap.  viii. 


n8        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

version  of  "John  Anderson,  my  jo"  with  the  complacent  adjective 
"improved,"  in  which  Burns's  stanzas  are  placed  last.  And  the  three 
additional  stanzas  to  John  Mayne's  "  Logan  Braes,"  printed  in  No.  VI. 
of  The  Paisley  Repository  in  1806,  were  possibly  his.  He  wrote, 
besides,  new  versions  of  "The  Lass  o'  Cowrie,"  "The  Lea-rig," 
"  Cauld  Kail  in  Aberdeen,"  and  other  songs. 

( 

CAULD  KAIL   IN  ABERDEEN 

There's  cauld  kail  in  Aberdeen, 

And  bannocks  in  Strathbogie, 
But  naething  drives  away  the  spleen 

Sae  weel's  a  social  cogie. 

That  mortal's  life  nae  pleasure  shares 

Wha  broods  o'er  a'  that's  fogie, 
Whene'er  I'm  fashed  wi'  worldly  cares 

I  drown  them  in  a  cogie. 

Thus  merrily  my  time  I  pass 

With  spirits  brisk  and  vogie, 
Bless'd  wi'  my  buiks  and  my  sweet  lass, 

My  cronies  and  my  cogie. 

Then  haste  and  gie's  an  auld  Scots  sang, 

Siclike  as  "  Catherine  Ogie"; 
A  guid  auld  sang  comes  never  wrang 

When  o'er  a  social  cogie. I 

i  This  version  of  the  famous  lyric  is  warranted  by  Dr  Strang,  in 
"Glasgow  and  its  Clubs,"  to  be  "altogether  from  the  pen  of  Mr. 
Reid." 


WILLIAM    REID  119 

FAIR   MODEST   FLOWER 

Fair  modest  flower,  of  matchless  worth  ! 

Thou  sweet,  enticing,  bonnie  gem  ! 
Bless'd  is  the  soil  that  gave  thee  birth, 

And  bless'd  thine  honoured  parent  stem. 
But  doubly  bless'd  shall  be  the  youth 

To  whom  thy  heaving  bosom  warms, 
Possessed  of  beauty,  love,  and  truthj 

He'll  clasp  an  angel  in  his  arms. 

Though  storms  of  life  were  blowing  snell, 

And  on  his  brow  sat  brooding  care, 
Thy  seraph  smile  would  quick  dispel 

The  darkest  gloom  of  black  despair. 
Sure  Heaven  hath  granted  thee  to  us, 

And  chose  thee  from  the  dwellers  there, 
And  sent  thee  from  celestial  bliss 

To  show  what  all  the  virtues  are. 


SWEET   LOVELY  JEAN 

Upon  the  banks  of  flowing  Clyde 

The  lasses  busk  them  braw ; 
But  when  their  best  they  ha'e  put  on 

My  Jeanie  dings  them  a'. 
In  namely  weeds  she  far  exceeds 

The  fairest  o'  the  town  ; 
Baith  sage  and  gay  confess  it  sae, 

Though  drest  in  russet  gown. 


120        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  gamesome  lamb,  that  sucks  its  dam, 

Mair  harmless  canna  be ; 
She  has  nae  fau't,  if  sic  ye  ca't, 

Except  her  love  for  me. 
The  sparkling  dew,  o'  clearest  hue, 

Is  like  her  shining  een  : 
In  shape  and  air  nane  can  compare 

Wi'  my  sweet  lovely  Jean. 


JOHN    ANDERSON,   MY   JO 

John  Anderson,  my  jo,  John, 

I  wonder  what  ye  mean 
To  rise  so  early  in  the  morn 

And  sit  so  late  at  e'en. 
Ye'll  blear  out  a'  your  een,  John, 

And  why  should  you  do  so  ? 
Gang  sooner  to  your  bed  at  e'en, 

John  Anderson,  my  jo. 

John  Anderson,  my  jo,  John; 

When  Nature  first  began 
To  try  her  canny  hand,  John, 

Her  masterpiece  was  man ; 
And  you  amang  them  a,  John, 

So  trig  frae  tap  to  toe, 
She  proved  to  be  nae  journey-wark, 

John  Anderson,  my  jo. 


WILLIAM    REID  121 

John  Anderson,  my  jo,  John, 

Ye  were  my  first  conceit ; 
And  ye  needna  think  it  strange,  John, 

That  I  ca'  ye  trim  and  neat. 
Though  some  folks  say  ye're  auld,  John, 

I  never  think  ye  so  j 
But  I  think  ye're  aye  the  same  to  me, 

John  Anderson,  my  jo. 

John  Anderson,  my  jo,  John, 

We've  seen  our  bairns'  bairns, 
And  yet,  my  dear  John  Anderson, 

I'm  happy  in  your  arms. 
And  so  are  ye  in  mine,  John — 

I'm  sure  you'll  ne'er  say  no ; 
Though  the  days  are  gane  that  we  have  seen, 

John  Anderson,  my  jo.1 


KATE   O'   GOWRIE 

When  Katie  was  scarce  out  nineteen 
Oh  !  but  she  had  twa  coal  black  een  ! 
A  bonnier  lass  ye  wadna  seen 
In  a'  the  Carse  o'  Cowrie. 

1  A  full  account  of  the  successive  amplifications  of  this  song,  whose 
original  hero  is  said  to  have  been  town  piper  of  Kelso,  will  be  found 
in  Mr.  Robert  Ford's  interesting  book,  "Song  Histories"  (Glasgow, 
1900).     The  fine  old  air  to  which  it  is  sung  appears  to  have  been 
cathedral  chant  of  pre-  Reformation  times. 


122        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Quite  tired  o'  livin'  a'  his  lane, 
Pate  did  to  her  his  love  explain, 
And  swore  he'd  be,  were  she  his  ain, 
The  happiest  lad  in  Cowrie. 

Quo'  she,  "  I  winna  marry  thee 
For  a'  the  gear  that  ye  can  gi'e ; 
Nor  will  I  gang  a  step  ajee 

For  a'  the  gowd  in  Cowrie. 
My  father  will  gi'e  me  twa  kye, 
My  mither's  gaun  some  yarn  to  dye — 
I'll  get  a  gown  just  like  the  sky, 

Gif  I'll  no  gang  to  Cowrie." 

"  O  my  dear  Katie,  say  na  sae  ! 
Ye  little  ken  a  heart  that's  wae. 
Hey,  there's  my  hand !  hear  me,  I  pray, 

Sin'  thou'lt  no  gang  to  Cowrie. 
Since  first  I  met  thee  at  the  shiel, 
My  saul  to  thee's  been  true  and  leal ; 
The  darkest  night  I  fear  nae  deil, 

Warlock,  or  witch  in  Cowrie. 

"  I  fear  nae  want  o'  claes  nor  nocht ; 
Sic  silly  things  my  mind  ne'er  taught : 
I  dream  a'  nicht,  and  start  about 

And  wish  for  thee  in  Cowrie. 
I  lo'e  thee  better,  Kate,  my  dear, 
Than  a'  my  rigs  and  out-gaun  gear, 
Sit  down  by  me  till  ance  I  swear 

Thou'rt  worth  the  Carse  o'  Cowrie." 


WILLIAM    REID  123 

Syne  on  her  mou'  sweet  kisses  laid, 
Till  blushes  a'  her  cheeks  o'erspread. 
She  sighed,  and  in  soft  whispers  said, 

"  Oh,  Pate,  tak'  me  to  Gowrie  ! " 
Quo'  he,  "  Let's  to  the  auld  folks  gang ; 
Say  what  they  like,  I'll  bide  their  bang, 
And  bide  a'  nicht,  though  beds  be  thrang, 

But  I'll  ha'e  thee  to  Gowrie." 

The  auld  folk  syne  baith  gied  consent ; 
The  priest  was  ca'd ;  a'  were  content ; 
And  Katie  never  did  repent 

That  she  gaed  hame  to  Gowrie. 
For  routh  o'  bonnie  bairns  had  she — 
Mair  strappin'  lads  ye  wadna  see — 
And  her  braw  lasses  bore  the  gree 

Frae  a'  the  rest  o'  Gowrie. 


THE   LEA-RIG 

At  gloamin'  if  my  lane  I  be, 

Oh,  but  I'm  wondrous  eerie,  O  ! 
And  mony  a  heavy  sigh  I  gi'e, 

When  absent  frae  my  dearie,  O  ! 
But  seated  'neath  the  milk-white  thorn, 

In  evening  fair  and  clearie,  O  ! 
Enraptured,  a'  my  cares  I  scorn, 

When  wi'  my  kind  dearie,  O 


i24        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Whare  through  the  birks  the  burnie  rows, 

Aft  ha'e  I  sat  fu'  cheerie,  O  ! 
Upon  the  bonnie  greensward  howes, 

Wi'  thee,  my  kind  dearie,  O  ! 
I've  courted  till  I  heard  the  craw 

Of  honest  chanticleerie,  O  ! 
Yet  never  missed  my  sleep  ava', 

When  wi'  my  kind  dearie,  O  ! 

For  though  the  night  were  ne'er  so  dark, 

And  I  were  ne'er  so  weary,  O ! 
I'd  meet  thee  on  the  lea-rig, 

My  ain  kind  dearie,  O  ! 
While  in  this  weary  warld  of  wae — 

This  wilderness  so  dreary,  O  ! 
What  makes  me  blythe,  and  keeps  me  sae  ? 

Tis  thee,  my  kind  dearie,  O ! 


JAMES   GRAHAME 
1765-1811 

THE  Cowper  of  Scotland,  as  he  has  been  called,  though  he  possessed 
neither  the  humour  nor  powers  of  satire  of  the  English  poet,  was  born 
in  Glasgow,  April  22,  1765.  His  father  was  a  writer  in  the  city,  and 
destined  his  son  for  the  same  profession,  while  the  choice  of  the  young 
man  himself  was  the  Church.  But  though  both  of  these  schemes  were 
in  turn  carried  out,  the  effective  issue  of  Grahame's  life  was  decided  for 
him  by  circumstances  in  quite  another  direction.  At  school  he  received 
a  wanton  blow  on  the  back  of  the  head  which  rendered  him  delicate 
throughout  life,  subjected  him  to  frequent  attacks  of  headache  and 
stupor,  and  in  the  end  caused  his  death.  By  this  acquired  delicacy  a 
stimulus  was  given  to  the  reflective  side  of  his  character,  and  at  his 
father's  summer  cottage  on  the  bosky  banks  of  the  Cart  he  gathered 
impressions  of  nature  still  and  fair  which  were  to  flower  and  ripen  later 
into  poetry. 

Meanwhile  he  passed  through  the  Grammar  School  and  University  of 
Glasgow,  and,  yielding  to  his  father's  wish,  entered  the  law  office  of  his 
cousin,  Lawrence  Hill,  in  Edinburgh.  In  1791  he  became  a  Writer  to 
the  Signet,  but,  his  health  suffering  at  the  desk,  he  passed,  two  years 
afterwards,  into  the  Faculty  of  Advocates.  Three  years  later  he 
married. 

It  was  during  the  following  period  that  his  poetry  was  given  to  the 
world.  Already,  while  attending  the  University,  he  had  issued  a  small 
book  of  verse.  Part  of  this  he  now  revised,  and  published  anonymously 
as  "The  Rural  Calendar"  in  the  Kelso  Mail  in  1797  ;  and  four  years 
later  he  produced  "  Mary  Stuart,  an  Historical  Drama."  These  con- 
tained passages  of  high  promise,  but  attracted  little  notice.  Accordingly, 


126         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

in  1804,  when  he  had  another  poem  ready  for  publication,  he  determined 
to  keep  the  authorship  secret.  Not  even  his  own  household  knew  of  it, 
and  he  took  the  extreme  precaution  of  meeting  the  printer  at  obscure 
coffee-houses  to  correct  the  proofs.  The  poem  was  "  The  Sabbath," 
and  when  the  book  was  ready  he  took  a  copy  home,  and  left  it  on  a 
table.  Returning  a  little  later  he  found  his  wife  absorbed  in  reading  the 
new  work.  He  said  nothing,  but  paced  the  floor  anxiously,  waiting  for 
her  verdict,  and  his  feelings  can  be  understood  when  at  last  she  burst 
out  with,  "  Ah,  James,  if  you  could  only  write  like  this  !" 

The  book  was  severely  handled  by  the  Edinburgh  Review,  and 
afterwards  by  Lord  Byron,  but  its  fame  was  already  secure,  and  a 
secpnd  edition  appeared  in  1805.  To  this  Grahame  added  "Sabbath 
Walks,"  and  had  the  satisfaction  to  see  three  editions  disposed  of  within 
twelve  months.  At  Kirkhall,  a  sequestered  spot  on  the  banks  of  the 
Esk,  where  he  spent  two  summers,  he  next  wrote  "  The  Birds  o* 
Scotland."  This  work,  describing  in  minute,  loving  detail  the  haunts 
and  habits  of  these  feathered  creatures,  appeared  in  1806.  And  in  1809 
he  published  his  "British  Georgics."  Regarding  this  last  work  the 
criticism  of  Lord  Jeffrey  was  probably  just.  "  No  practical  farmer,"  he 
wrote,  "will  ever  submit  to  be  schooled  in  blank  verse,  while  the 
lovers  of  poetry  must  be  very  generally  disgusted  by  the  tediousness  of 
those  discourses  on  practical  husbandry  which  break  in,  every  now  and 
then,  so  ungracefully,  on  the  loftier  strains  of  the  poet." 

Grahame  wrote  no  more.  In  the  year  in  which  the  "British 
Georgics  "  appeared,  he  determined  at  last,  his  father  having  been  long 
dead,  to  follow  his  early  bent.  Proceeding  to  London,  he  entered  the 
English  Episcopal  Church,  was  ordained  by  the  Bishop  of  Norwich,  and 
in  succession  held  the  curacies  of  Shefton  Mayne  in  Gloucestershire,  of 
St.  Margaret's,  Durham,  and  of  Sedgefield.  In  each  place  he  proved 
an  eloquent  and  successful  preacher.  His  health,  however,  rapidly 
declined ;  he  returned  north  for  change ;  and  at  Whitehill,  Glasgow, 
his  brother's  residence,  expired,  September  14,  1811.  His  death  was 
the  first  subject  to  stir  the  poetic  genius  of  his  friend  John  Wilson,  the 
future  "Christopher  North,"  who  honoured  his  memory  with  a  tribute 
no  poet  could  despise.  A  detailed  account  of  his  life  is  furnished  in 
Chambers's  "Illustrious  Scotsmen"  (vol.  II.  p.  489),  and  a  collected 
edition  of  his  works,  with  a  memoir  by  the  Rev.  George  Gilfillan  w 
published  at  Edinburgh  in  1856. 


JAMES   GRAHAME  127 

"  The  Sabbath  "  remains  Grahame's  finest  work.  It  is  characteristic, 
perhaps,  of  the  spirit  quickening  the  muse  of  Scotland  that  the  same 
subject  should  afford  the  finest  poetical  performance  of  a  more  recent 
writer,  Robert  Louis  Stevenson. 


THE     SABBATH 

Opening  Description 

How  still  the  morning  of  the  hallowed  day  ! 
Mute  is  the  voice  of  rural  labour,  hushed 
The  ploughboy's  whistle  and  the  milkmaid's  song. 
The  scythe  lies  glittering  in  the  dewy  wreath 
Of  tedded  grass,  mingled  with  fading  flowers 
That  yestermorn  bloomed  waving  in  the  breeze. 
Sounds  the  most  faint  attract  the  ear — the  hum 
Of  early  bee,  the  trickling  of  the  dew, 
The  distant  bleating,  midway  up  the  hill. 
Calmness  seems  throned  on  yon  unmoving  cloud. 
To  him  who  wanders  o'er  the  upland  leas 
The  blackbird's  note  comes  mellower  from  the  dale, 
And  sweeter  from  the  sky  the  gladsome  lark 
Warbles  his  heaven-tuned  song ;  the  lulling  brook 
Murmurs  more  gently  down  the  deep-sunk  glen ; 
While  from  yon  lowly  roof,  whose  curling  smoke 
O'er  mounts  the  mist,  is  heard  at  intervals 
The  voice  of  psalms,  the  simple  song  of  praise. 

With  dovelike  wings  peace  o'er  yon  village  broods ; 
The  dizzying  millwheel  rests  ;  the  anvil's  din 


128        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Hath  ceased ;  all,  all  around  is  quietness. 

Less  fearful  on  this  day,  the  limping  hare 

Stops,  and  looks  back,  and  stops,  and  looks  on  man, 

Her  deadliest  foe.     The  toil-worn  horse,  set  free, 

Unheedful  of  the  pasture,  roams  at  large, 

And,  as  his  stiff,  unwieldy  bulk  he  rolls, 

His  iron-armed  hoofs  gleam  in  the  morning  ray. 

But  chiefly  man  the  day  of  rest  enjoys. 
Hail,  Sabbath !  thee  I  hail,  the  poor  man's  day  ! 
•  On  other  days  the  man  of  toil  is  doomed 
To  eat  his  joyless  bread,  lonely,  the  ground 
Both  seat  and  board,  screened  from  the  winter's  cold 
And  summer's  heat  by  neighbouring  hedge  or  tree. 
But  on  this  day,  embosomed  in  his  home, 
He  shares  the  frugal  meal  with  those  he  loves ; 
With  those  he  loves  he  shares  the  heartfelt  joy 
Of  giving  thanks  to  God — not  thanks  of  form, 
A  word  and  a  grimace,  but  reverently, 
With  covered  face  and  upward,  earnest  eye. 

Hail,  Sabbath  !  thee  I  hail,  the  poor  man's  day  ! 
The  pale  mechanic  now  has  leave  to  breathe 
The  morning  air  pure  from  the  city's  smoke, 
While,  wandering  slowly  up  the  riverside, 
He  meditates  on  Him  whose  power  he  marks 
In  each  green  tree  that  proudly  spreads  the  bough, 
As  in  the  tiny  dew-bent  flowers  that  bloom 
Around  the  roots.     And  while  he  thus  surveys 
With  elevated  joy  each  rural  charm, 
He  hopes,  yet  fears  presumption  in  the  hope, 
To  reach  those  realms  where  Sabbath  never  ends.  . 


JAMES   GRAHAME  129 

It  is  not  only  in  the  sacred  fane 
That  homage  should  be  paid  to  the  Most  High. 
There  is  a  temple,  one  not  made  with  hands, 
The  vaulted  firmament.     Far  in  the  woods, 
Almost  beyond  the  sound  of  city  chime, 
At  intervals  heard  through  the  breezeless  air ; 
When  not  the  limberest  leaf  is  seen  to  move, 
Save  where  the  linnet  lights  upon  the  spray ; 
Where  not  a  floweret  bends  its  little  stalk, 
Save  when  the  bee  alights  upon  the  bloom  ; 
There,  wrapt  in  gratitude,  in  joy,  and  love, 
The  man  of  God  will  pass  the  Sabbath  noon, 
Silence  his  praise,  his  disembodied  thoughts, 
Loosed  from  the  load  of  words,  will  high  ascend 
Beyond  the  empyreal. 


THE  MERLE 
(From  "The  Birds  of  Scotland") 

When  snowdrops  die,  and  the  green  primrose  leaves 
Announce  the  coming  flower,  the  merle's  note, 
Mellifluous,  rich,  deep-toned,  fills  all  the  vale, 
And  charms  the  ravished  ear.     The  hawthorn  bush, 
New-budded,  is  his  perch  ;  there  the  gray  dawn 
He  hails  ;  and  there,  with  parting  light,  concludes 
His  melody.     There,  when  the  buds  begin 
To  break,  he  lays  the  fibrous  roots  ;  and  see, 
His  jetty  breast  embrowned;  the  rounded  clay 
K 


130        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

His  jetty  breast  has  soiled  ;  but  now  complete, 
His  partner,  and  his  helper  in  the  work, 
Happy  assumes  possession  of  her  home  ; 
While  he  upon  a  neighbouring  tree  his  lay, 
More  richly  full,  melodiously  renews. 

When  twice  seven  days  have  run,  the  moment  snatch. 
That  she  has  flitted  off  her  charge,  to  cool 
Her  thirsty  bill,  dipped  in  the  babbling  brook, 
Then  silently,  on  tiptoe  raised,  look  in, 
Admire  !     Five  cupless  acorns,  darkly  specked, 
Delight  the  eye,  warm  to  the  cautious  touch. 
In  seven  days  more  expect  the  fledgeless  young, 
Five  gaping  bills.     With  busy  wing  and  eye, 
Quick  darting,  all  alert,  the  parent  pair 
Gather  the  sustenance  which  Heaven  bestows. 
But  music  ceases,  save  at  dewy  fall 
Of  eve,  when,  nestling  o'er  her  brood,  the  dam 
Has  stilled  them  all  to  rest ;  or  at  the  hour 
Of  doubtful  dawning  gray.     Then  from  his  wing 
Her  partner  turns  his  yellow  bill,  and  chants 
His  solitary  song  of  joyous  praise. 

From  day  to  day,  as  blow  the  hawthorn  flowers 
That  canopy  this  little  home  of  love, 
The  plumage  of  the  younglings  shoots  and  spreads, 
Filling  with  joy  the  fond  parental  eye. 

Alas!  not  long  the  parents'  partial  eye 
Shall  view  the  fledgling  wing ;  ne'er  shall  they  see 
The  timorous  pinion's  first  essay  at  flight. 
The  truant  schoolboy's  eager,  bleeding  hand 
Their  house,  their  all,  tears  from  the  bending  bush — 


JAMES   GRAHAME  131 

A  shower  of  blossoms  mourns  the  ruthless  deed. 
The  piercing  anguished  note,  the  brushing  wing, 
The  spoiler  heeds  not.     Triumphing,  his  way 
Smiling  he  wends.     The  ruined,  hopeless  pair 
O'er  many  a  field  follow  his  townward  steps, 
Then  back  return,  and,  perching  on  the  bush, 
Find  nought  of  all  they  loved,  but  one  small  tuft 
Of  moss  and  withered  roots.     Drooping  they  sit, 
Silent :  afar  at  last  they  fly,  o'er  hill 
And  lurid  moor,  to  mourn  in  other  groves, 
And  soothe,  in  other  grief,  their  hapless  lot. 


JOHN  STRUTHERS 

1776-1853 

THE  author  of  "The  Poor  Man's  Sabbath"  is  probably  remembered 
now  mainly  by  the  fact  that,  at  the  instance  of  Joanna  Baillie, 
Sir  Walter  Scott  induced  Constable  to  publish  his  poem.  He  was, 
however,  of  more  than  local  note  in  his  day,  and  his  poetry  is  still 
well  worth  perusal.  Bom  at  East  Kilbride,  July  18,  1776,  he  was 
indebted  for  much  sympathy  and  instruction  in  childhood  to  Mrs. 
Baillie  and  her  two  daughters — of  whom  the  younger  was  still  unknown 
to  fame — who  then  resided  in  the  neighbourhood.  Mrs.  Baillie  read 
with  him,  and  the  young  ladies  made  music  for  him  on  the  spinnet. 
In  his  grandfather's  home,  too,  on  the  lonely  Glassford  Moor,  where 
he  spent  three  years  as  a  boy,  he  found  a  store  of  histories  and 
theological  works  of  Reformation  times  which  left  a  strong  impression 
on  his  vein  of  thought.  After  serving  an  apprenticeship  in  Glasgow  to 
his  father's  trade  of  shoemaking,  and  himself  working  at  the  same 
business  in  East  Kilbride  for  some  years,  he  married  and  moved  into 
Glasgow  as  a  working  shoemaker.  In  1804  he  had  his  "  Poor  Man's 
Sabbath  "  printed,  and  sold  a  small  edition  to  the  local  booksellers  at 
sixpence  a  copy  a  few  weeks  before  the  appearance  of  Grahame's  more 
famous  poem,  "  The  Sabbath."  As  a  result  Grahame  was  charged  in  a 
London  periodical,  The  Dramatic  Mirror,  with  plagiarism,  the  charge 
being  founded  on  the  fact  that  a  MS.  copy  of  Struthers'  poem,  confided 
to  a  friend  some  time  before  publication,  had  disappeared.  Struthers 
himself,  however,  emphatically  absolved  Grahame.  A  second  edition 
of  "The  Poor  Man's  Sabbath"  was  produced  in  1806,  and  followed 
in  the  same  year  by  a  sequel,  "  The  Peasant's  Death." 

In  1808  the  poet's  early  friend,  Joanna  Baillie,  paid  him  a  visit  in 
Gorbals,   and   it  was  the  third  edition   of  his  poem  which,   at   her 


JOHN    STRUTHERS  133 

instance,  Sir  Walter  Scott  induced  Constable  to  publish.  The 
references  to  Struthers,  therefore,  by  Lockhart  in  his  "Life  of  Scott" 
are  not  only  incorrect,  but  unjust  to  the  shoemaker-poet.  The  patronis- 
ing tone  of  these  references,  indeed,  has  done  the  memory  of  the  poet 
much  harm.  Contrary  to  Lockhart's  statements,  Grahame's  poem  was 
not  the  earlier  published,  and  Struthers  was  never  either  at  Ashestiel  or 
Abbotsford,  though  he  had  repeated  invitations  to  both.  However,  in 
his  own  words,  "  till  he  ceased  to  have  any  occasion  to  be  in  Edin- 
burgh, he  never  was  there  without  having  an  interview  with  Mr.  Scott 
in  his  house  in  North  Castle  Street."  The  Edinburgh  edition  was 
very  badly  printed,  but  it  brought  its  author  £30. 

Struthers'  next  poem,  "The  Winter  Day,"  was  published  in  1811, 
and  in  1814  a  collected  edition  of  his  pieces  was  produced  in  two 
volumes  at  Glasgow  under  the  title  of  " Poems:  Moral  and  Religious." 
In  1816,  during  the  time  of  depression  after  Waterloo,  he  published  an 
"  Essay  on  the  State  of  the  Labouring  Poor,"  deprecating  the  idea  that 
all  social  ills  are  curable  by  Government.  In  the  years  1817-1821  he 
edited  "The  Harp  of  Caledonia,"  a  collection  to  which  songs  were 
contributed  by  Scott,  Mrs.  Hunter,  and  Joanna  Baillie,  and  in  1819  he 
finally  laid  aside  the  shoemaker's  lapstone  for  the  position  of  printer's 
reader  to  the  firm  of  Khull,  Blackie,  &  Co.  In  their  employment  he 
assisted  in  editing  Wodrow's  "History"  and  other  works.  He  also 
himself  wrote  a  "History  of  Scotland  from  1707  to  1827,"  which  was 
published  in  the  latter  year.  In  1833  he  was  appointed  Keeper  of 
Stirling's  Library,  a  position  which  he  held  till  the  reconstruction  of  the 
library  in  1848.  Of  his  later  writings  the  chief  was  the  descriptive 
poem  of  "  Dychmont,"  his  longest  piece,  published  in  1836,  and  an 
interesting  autobiography  prefixed  to  the  complete  edition  of  his  poems 
in  1850.  He  died  July  30,  1853. 

The  poet's  muse  was  apt  to  assume  a  grave  religious  cast  (Struthers 
was  himself,  in  church  matters,  an  Old  Light  Anti-Burgher),  but  his 
happiest  vein  was  that  of  natural  description.  His  finest  piece  is  not 
the  somewhat  didactic  "Sabbath"  with  which  his  name  is  chiefly 
associated,  but  the  more  purely  descriptive  "  Winter  Day "  with  its 
delightful  successive  pictures  of  rural  life. 


i34        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


THE   WINTER   DAY 

EVENING 

HAIL  !  Evening,  hail !  thy  fading  ray, 

Thy  pensive  shades  of  sober  grey, 

That  bound  the  day's  tumultuous  span — 

Fit  emblem  of  the  life  of  man  ! 

How  sweet,  O  Eve  !  thy  peaceful  hour, 

What  time  the  Spring  puts  forth  her  power, 

When  from  the  fragrance-breathing  grove 

Swells  the  bold  note  of  rapturous  love. 

How  grateful,  then,  released  from  toil, 

On  moss-grown  bank  to  breathe  awhile, 

Lone,  by  the  purling  stream, 
While,  o'er  the  darkening  vales  below, 
The  hills  their  giant  shadows  throw, 
As  in  the  west  the  bright  sun  drops, 
And  fiery  red  the  green  tree  tops 

Flame  in  his  setting  beam. 

And  sweet,  when  summer  dews  descend, 
In  village  gambol  to  unbend, 
Or  in  thy  pensive,  gleaming  ray, 
Beneath  the  birken  shade  to  stray, 
Where,  through  the  silent  gloom  profound, 
The  bat  wheels  slow  her  drowsy  round, 
Or  when  the  west  winds  balmy  play, 
Their  pinions  laden  with  perfume, 


JOHN   STRUTHERS  135 

O'er  fields  of  clover,  flowering  gay, 

Or,  waving  dark,  the  breathing  broom, 
Or,  sweeter  far  than  Banda's  vales 
Or  blest  Arabia's  spicy  gales, 
All  lovely  o'er  the  cultured  scene, 
Where  blossoms  rich  the  fragrant  bean. 

And  sweet,  when  pipes  the  autumnal  breeze 

Chill  o'er  the  heath-empurpled  hill, 
Or,  sighing  through  the  rustling  trees, 

Responsive  to  the  tinkling  rill, 
To  see  the  lake's  broad  bosom  heave 

And  sparkle  to  the  moon's  cold  beam — 
To  listen  to  the  rippling  wave, 

Heard  faint,  like  distant  mountain  stream, 
Or,  on  the  breezy  upland,  laid 
At  ease  beneath  the  broomy  shade, 
To  see  the  rising  vapours  sail, 
Blue-wreathing,  up  the  distant  vale. 

And  though,  less  splendidly  arrayed, 

The  wintry  landscape  harsh  appears, 
And,  glinting  o'er  the  lonely  glade, 

Thy  modest  cheek  is  drenched  in  tears, 
The  child  of  Nature  still  may  gaze, 

And  rapture  heave  his  inmost  soul, 
As  groaning  wide  the  tempest  strays, 

Bends  low  the  heaven  with  threatening  scowl, 
Or,  cloudless,  fired  with  winter's  glance, 
In  lustre  dread  the  immense  expanse 

Burns  vast  from  pole  to  pole. 


136        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

But  chief,  O  Eve  !  in  cottage  warm 
Is  now  displayed  thy  sweetest  charm, 
Where  friends  in  social  circle  join, 
And  peace  and  piety  combine, 
When  all  are  careful  housed  from  harm, 

Each  can  a  while  his  cares  forego, 
The  winds  are  heard  without  alarm, 

While  through  the  breast  warm  transports  glow, 

And  beams  content  on  every  brow. 
With  fuel  high  the  hearth  is  heaped, 

And  streams  the  strong  reflected  blaze 
From  servers  broad  on  shelf  still  kept, 

Relics  of  love  and  youthful  days. 
Along  the  hearthstone,  bending  low 
Beneath  the  chimney's  ruddy  glow, 
Careless  of  either  thieves  or  storm, 
Tray  stretches  out  his  hairy  form, 
And  on  his  back,  with  lofty  grace, 
First  stroking  down  her  tabby  face, 
Then  sheathing  soft  her  harpy  claws, 
And  licking  smooth  her  gory  jaws 

With  tail  laid  up,  and  half-shut  eyes, 
Mixed  with  the  spinning-wheel's  deep  hum, 
At  ease,  her  sleep-provoking  thrum 

Grimalkin  croodling  plies. 

Around  the  ring  in  copious  stream 

The  tide  of  conversation  flows ; 
Now  laughter  gilds  the  lively  theme, 
Now  grief  a  melancholy  gleam 


JOHN    STRUTHERS  137 

Upon  the  subject  throws. 
For  in  the  varied  strain 

The  note  is  pitched  from  grave  to  gay, 

And,  scarcely  shifted,  melts  away 
From  gay  to  grave  again. 

Meanwhile  the  children,  warm,  explore 

The  exploits  of  giant-killing  Jack  ; 
Or  wondering  trace  from  door  to  door 

John  Cheap  the  chapman  with  his  pack ; 
Or  of  the  sad  sack-weaver,  Slack, 
With  twelve  misfortunes  on  his  back, 
Waking  broad  humour's  deepest  tones, 
They  mark  the  strangely  serious  moans ; 
Or,  while  their  bosoms  gleeful  swell, 
Buchanan's  witty  pranks  they  tell ; 
Or  far  amidst  the  merry  green  wood 

They  list  the  bugle's  tone, 
The  signal  good  of  bold  Robin  Hood 

And  fearless  Little  John. 

But  James  the  herd,  in  musings  high, 
The  warm  tear  glistening  in  his  eye, 

That  shuns  the  rude  beholder's  gaze, 
Careless  what  merriment  they  keep, 
The  secret  sigh  is  heaving  deep, 

Lost  in  the  view  of  other  days ; 
For  lonely  far  in  yonder  vale 

Her  cot  his  widowed  mother  keeps, 
And  solitary  to  the  gale 

Her  sad  bereavement  weeps. 


138        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

And  on  the  midnight  pillow  deep, 
When  all  his  toils  are  lost  in  sleep, 
By  vivid  Fancy's  wakeful  power 
Returns  the  gloaming's  grateful  hour — 
He  sees  a  father  sweetly  smile, 
Returning  from  his  daily  toil ; 
He  drops  his  play,  he  runs  to  clasp 
His  honoured  knees  with  eager  grasp. 
There  he  can  breathe  his  little  plaints, 
His  hopes,  his  joys,  his  woes,  his  wants. 
That  soothing  voice  distinct  he  hears, 
That  once  could  scatter  all  his  fears, 
Expatiate  warm  on  heavenly  truth 
In  the  clear  tones  of  health  and  youth, 
While  marches  Time  with  soundless  tread, 
And  all  are  silent  as  the  dead. 

Awake,  so  strong  he  grasps  the  theme, 
That  sleep  seems  life,  and  life  a  dream 
Even  now  he  sees  him  lowly  laid, 
Exhausted,  on  his  dying  bed. 
His  feeble  hand  he  seems  to  grasp, 
And  feels  its  cold  and  icy  clasp, 
Marks  the  last  gleam  that  fired  his  eye, 
As,  lifted  up  to  God  on  high, 
His  helpless  offspring  he  consigned 
In  faith  and  patience,  meek  resigned. 
The  heavy  groan  of  death  he  hears, 
And  his  last  words  burn  in  his  ears. 


JOHN   STRUTHERS  139 

Ceases  their  sport,  the  wheel's  brisk  hum, 
When  in  some  worthy  neighbours  come, 
Who  once  a  week  make  it  their  care 
To  meet  for  social  praise  and  prayer. 
Aside  their  plaids,  their  bonnets  laid, 
And  kind  enquiries  mutual  made, 
The  hearth  is  roused  with  ruddier  blaze, 
While,  closing  round,  the  ring  extends, 
And  swelling  high,  to  heaven  ascends 
Warm  from  each  heart  the  notes  of  praise. 


Compared  with  exercise  like  this, 

How  poor  the  grovelling  earth-worm's  bliss- 

The  idle  tavern's  wassail  roar, 

Or  wild  the  maudlin  rout's  uproar  ! 

How  poor  in  histrionic  rage, 

Wide,  gaping,  to  besiege  the  stage, 

Where  poor  Conceit,  in  tinselled  pride, 

All  comic,  grins  with  hand  on  side, 

Or,  Grandeur's  fancied  part  assuming, 

With  tragic  slap  and  straddle  fuming, 

While  Frenzy  rends  her  idiot  jaws, 

And  gloating  Folly  brays  applause ! 

Hail !  Evening,  hail !  thy  fading  ray, 
Thy  pensive  shades  of  sober  grey, 
That  bound  the  day's  tumultuous  span — 
Fit  emblem  of  the  life  of  man  ! 
Whether  thou  shak'st  from  balmy  wing 


HO        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  fragrance  of  the  new-born  Spring, 
Or  Summer  tinge  thy  glowing  cheek, 
Or  Autumn  round  thee  whistle  bleak, 
Or  gloomy  Winter  o'er  thee  throw 
His  mantle  dark,  his  air  of  woe — 
If  still  such  simple  scenes  are  mine, 
And  such  society  divine. 

Or  if  by  stream,  or  mountain  rude, 
Thou  lead'st  me  far  in  solitude, 
Bring  with  thee  still,  companions  meet ! 
Contentment — meditation  sweet — 
Devotion  warm,  with  ardent  eye, 
And  hope,  that  can  unveil  the  sky. 
So,  while  the  darkening  shadows  sweep, 
And  closes  round  thee  silence  deep, 
On  wings  of  faith  my  soul  may  fly 
Where  worlds  of  light  in  glory  lie — 
Where  day  still  keeps  his  cloudless  throne, 
And  thy  pale  shades  are  all  unknown. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL 

1777-1844 

IT  has  been  the  custom  to  speak  of  the  Virginia  Merchants  of  Glasgow 
of  the  1 8th  century,  who  in  their  red  cloaks  paced  the  plainstones  daily 
at  the  Cross,  as  if  they  served  no  purposes  but  those  of  their  own  pride. 
The  fact  is  forgotten  that  they  were  the  founders  of  Glasgow's  foreign 
trade,  on  which  all  the  later  prosperity  of  the  city  has  been  built.  Nor 
did  they  pass  away  without  leaving  other  marks  on  the  history  of  the 
west.  Among  more  mundane  matters,  not  the  least  of  the  country's 
indebtedness  to  these  old  adventurers  is  for  the  poetry  of  the  author  of 
"The  Pleasures  of  Hope." 

Thomas  Campbell  was  the  youngest  of  eleven  children  of  a  Glasgow 
Virginia  Merchant,  and  was  born  in  a  house  in  High  Street,  at  the  corner 
of  Nicholson  Street,  July  27,  1777.  In  the  previous  year  the  American 
war  had  broken  out,  and  in  common  with  all  the  others  in  the  trade, 
his  father  had  lost  heavily.  He  was  come  of  an  ancient  Argyleshire 
family,  that  of  Campbell  of  Kirnan,  and  his  most  intimate  friend  was 
Dr.  Thomas  Reid,  author  of  the  famous  "Enquiry  into  the  Human 
Mind,"  after  whom  the  future  poet  was  named.  Mrs.  Campbell,  too, 
was  a  woman  of  sound  sense  and  refined  taste.  It  was  little  wonder 
therefore  that  her  son  distinguished  himself  early.  At  Glasgow  Univer- 
sity, whose  black  front  gloomed  upon  High  Street  almost  opposite  the 
house  where  he  was  born,  and  which  he  entered  at  the  age  of  twelve, 
he  became  famous,  not  only  for  wild  pranks  and  mischief,  but  for  a 
translation  of  the  "Clouds"  of  Aristophanes,  which  was  declared  the 
best  exercise  ever  given  in  by  a  student.  Others  of  his  Greek  trans- 
lations also  attracted  notice;  his  "  Poem  on  Description  "  took  a  prize, 
and  clever  fugitive  pieces  from  his  pen  were  frequently  the  talk  of  the 
quadrangle.  On  one  occasion,  when  the  class  had  been  refused  a 


142         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

holiday,  a  petition  in  verse  from  Campbell  so  pleased  the  professor 
that  he  yielded  to  the  request. 

Under  the  pressure  of  necessity,  on  the  loss  of  a  long  Chancery  suit 
by  his  aged  father,  the  poel  went  as  a  tutor,  first  to  Sunipol  in  Mull, 
and  afterwards  to  Downie,  on  the  shores  of  Loch  Crinan.  There,  in 
old  Earrha  Gaidheal^  or  Argyll,  the  early  "  Land  of  the  Gael,"  over- 
looking the  Sound  of  Jura,  he  gathered  some  of  the  impressions 
afterwards  woven  into  his  "  Gertrude  of  Wyoming,"  as  well  as  the 
traditions  which  formed  the  subjects  of  his  poems,  "  Lochiel's  Warning," 
"  Lord  Ullin's  Daughter,"  and  "  Glenara";  and  there,  more  important 
still,  he  received  in  the  letter  of  a  college  friend  the  suggestion  of  his 
most  famous  work.  The  friend,  Hamilton  Paul,  himself  no  mean  poet, 
sent  him  twelve  stanzas  of  his  own  on  the  *'  Pleasures  of  Solitude,"  and 
with  some  humour  wrote — "We  have  now  three  pleasures  by  first-rate 
men  of  genius :  the  '  Pleasures  of  Imagination,'  the  '  Pleasures  of 
Memory,'  and  the  'Pleasures  of  Solitude.'  Let  us  cherish  the 
'  Pleasures  of  Hope '  that  we  may  soon  meet  again  in  old  Alma 
Mater. "  This  was  a  seed  that  was  to  bourgeon  presently,  i 

Giving  up  his  original  idea  of  entering  the  church,  and  trying  and 
tiring  of  law,  Campbell  went  to  Edinburgh.  "And  now,"  he  says, 
"  I  lived  in  the  Scottish  metropolis  by  instructing  pupils  in  Greek  and 
Latin.  In  this  vocation  I  made  a  comfortable  livelihood  as  long  as  I 
was  industrious.  But  the  '  Pleasures  of  Hope '  came  over  me.  I  took 
long  walks  about  Arthur's  Seat,  conning  over  my  own  (as  I  thought 
them)  magnificent  lines,  and  as  my  '  Pleasures  of  Hope '  got  on  my 
pupils  fell  off."  At  last,  however,  the  poem  was  finished,  and  for  the 
first  edition  a  publisher  gave  him  £60.  The  work  was  hailed  with  a 
burst  of  applause,  and  at  once  the  poet  found  himself  a  personage.  He 
was  the  greatest  poet  of  the  day.  Jeffrey,  Brougham,  and  Dugald 
Stewart  were  his  friends,  and  he  was  just  twenty-one  years  of  age. 
It  was  the  year  1799;  Wordsworth  so  far  had  published  only  his 


*An  account  of  the  life  of  Campbells  college  friend  is  given  in  "Ayrshire 
Contemporaries  of  Burns."  Born  at  Bargany  Mains  in  1773,  he  was  one  of  the 
earliest  editors  of  Burns,  and  a  noted  humourist.  On  leaving  Ayr  to  take  up  the 
ministry  of  Broughton  he  advertised  a  farewell  sermon  to  ladies,  and  preached 
rom  Acts  xx.  37,  "And  they  all  wept  sore,  and  fell  upon  Paul's  neck  and  kissed 
him."  At  college  a  translation  of  Claudian's  "Marriage  of  Honorius  and  Maria" 
was  subject  of  competition,  and  he  and  Campbell  divided  the  prize. 


THOMAS    CAMPBELL  143 

Lyrical  Ballads,  Scott  had  not  yet  begun  to  write,  and  Byron,  a 
boy  of  twelve,  had  just  left  Aberdeen. 

For  each  new  edition  of  his  poem  Campbell  received  ^50,  and  on 
the  strength  of  his  success  he  went  abroad.  There,  from  the  monastery 
of  St.  James,  he  saw  the  French  defeat  the  Austrians  at  Hohenlinden — 
a  sight  which  inspired  one  of  his  most  famous  poems.  War  against 
Britain,  however,  was  imminent,  and  he  found  it  prudent  to  return  to 
Hamburg.  There,  on  hearing  that  the  British  fleet  had  entered  the 
Sound,  he  wrote  "Ye  Mariners  of  England,"  and  shortly  afterwards 
"The  Exile  of  Erin."  The  latter  piece  was  inspired  by  a  friendship 
which  he  made  at  Altona  with  Anthony  M'Cann,  an  Irish  refugee 
accused  of  taking  part  in  the  Rebellion  of  1798. 

This  friendship  was  to  give  him  trouble  later.  On  sailing  for  Leith 
his  vessel  was  chased  by  a  Danish  privateer  and  forced  into  Yarmouth. 
Thence  the  poet  made  a  trip  to  London,  and  was  lionised  by  society. 
By  the  time  he  reached  Edinburgh  rumour  had  outrun  him.  It  was 
known  that  he  had  messed  with  the  French  officers  at  Ratisbon,  had 
been  introduced  to  General  Moreau,  and  had  been  in  close  correspond- 
ence with  an  Irish  rebel.  On  the  passage  north  a  lady  informed  him 
that  the  poet  Campbell  had  been  sent  to  the  Tower  for  high  treason 
and  was  likely  to  be  executed  ;  and  at  Edinburgh  he  heard  the  same 
rumour  in  the  streets.  He  called  at  once  on  the  sheriff,  and  was 
astonished  to  discover  that  that  officer  held  a  warrant  for  his  arrest. 
His  papers,  however,  which  had  been  seized  at  Leith,  were  found  to 
contain  nothing  more  treasonous  than  "Ye  Mariners  of  England,"  and 
the  whole  incident  ended  in  the  opening  of  a  bottle  of  wine. 

In  1803  the  poet  married  his  cousin,  Margaret  Sinclair,  and  settled 
in  London  to  a  life  of  letters. 

From  the  first,  fortune  smiled  on  him.  A  quarto  edition  of  his 
"  Pleasures  of  Hope"  brought  him  £600,  and  in  1805  he  was  granted 
a  pension  of  £200  per  annum,  half  of  which  he  settled  on  his  sisters 
and  his  widowed  mother.  His  "Annals  of  Great  Britain,"  published 
in  the  following  year,  brought  him  £300,  and  in  1809,  "Gertrude  of 
Wyoming,"  considered  at  the  time  the  finest  of  all  his  poems,  was 
welcomed  with  immense  enthusiasm. 

For  the  next  five  years  he  produced  little  of  note,  writing  mainly  for 
magazines  and  encyclopaedias.  But  a  visit  to  Paris  in  1814  quickened 
him  again.  He  was  introduced  there  to  Wellington,  Humboldt,  and 


144        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

other  history  makers,  renewed  a  friendship  with  Madame  de  Stael,  and 
records  in  his  letters  overwhelming  pleasure  in  the  works  of  art  in  the 
Louvre. 

On  his  return  Sir  Walter  Scott  made  interest,  though  without  success, 
to  secure  him  a  chair  at  Edinburgh  University,  and  Campbell  began  a 
new  chapter  of  his  career.  In  1819  he  produced  his  "  Specimens  of  the 
British  Poets"  which,  with  his  introductory  essay,  remains  a  work  of 
high  value ;  and  in  the  following  year  his  lectures  on  poetry,  delivered 
first  at  the  Royal  Institution,  and  afterwards  in  the  chief  cities  of  the 
kingdom,  confirmed  his  reputation  as  a  critic,  and  brought  him  a 
handsome  profit.  In  1820  also  he  became  editor  of  the  New  Monthly 
Magazine  at  a  salary  of  ;£6oo,  a  position  he  continued  to  hold  with 
great  success  till  1831. 

These  were  his  most  strenuous  years,  bringing  his  greatest  rewards 
and  sorrows.  In  1825,  chiefly  on  his  initiative,  suggested  by  a  visit  to 
Germany,  he  saw  the  founding  of  London  University; '  in  1826,  against 
no  less  a  competitor  than  the  author  of  "  Marmion,"  he  was  elected 
Lord  Rector  of  his  own  University  of  Glasgow — an  honour  which  was 
twice  renewed ;  and  about  the  same  time  he  inherited  from  a  relative  a 
legacy  of  ^5000.  On  the  other  hand,  in  1826  his  wife  died,  and  as  his 
only  surviving  son  had  been  long  a  lunatic,  he  had  none  to  share  his 
triumphs.  And  in  1831  an  article  of  highly  offensive  character  against 
his  friend  Dr.  Glennie  of  Dulwich,  which  was  printed  without  his 
knowledge  in  the  columns  of  his  magazine,  led  him  to  resign  his  editor- 
ship. It  was  therefore  with  a  fellow-feeling  for  the  griefs  of  others  that 
he  took  up  the  championship  of  the  crushed  and  bleeding  nations  of 
Greece  and  Poland.  The  downfall  of  Warsaw  in  1831,  with  the 
horrors  which  accompanied  it,  moved  him  deeply,  and  with  tongue, 
pen,  and  purse  he  devoted  himself  to  succour  the  lost  cause.  It  was  by 

1  As  attempts  have  been  made  to  belittle  Campbell's  share  in  the  foundation  of 
London  University,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  quote  here  an  extract  from  a  minute  of 
the  Company  of  Stationers  of  Glasgow,  to  which  attention  has  kindly  been  directed 
by  Mr.  Robert  Brodie,  writer,  clerk  to  the  Incorporation.  The  minute  is  dated 
May  8,  1827,  and  is  signed  by  James  Brash,  son  of  the  senior  partner  of  the  firm  of 
bookseller-poets,  Brash  &  Reid,  then  President.  The  occasion  was  Campbell's  visit 
to  Glasgow  as  Lord  Rector.  The  Company  of  Stationers  resolved  to  make  him  an 
honorary  member,  and  among  their  reasons  for  conferring  the  honour  they  include, 
"your  being  the  first  to  suggest  the  idea  of  the  London  University,  which,  by  the 
blessing  of  God,  it  is  hoped  will  be  an  everlasting  and  widely  diffused  benefit  to 
mankind." 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  145 

his  efforts  that  a  committee  was  established  in  London  to  relieve  the 
thousands  of  Polish  exiles  who  had  nocked  over,  and  that  a  sympathy 
with  the  fallen  nation,  of  which  the  sentiment  still  survives,  was 
awakened  throughout  the  country.  Campbell's  efforts  were  wholly 
generous  and  disinterested,  and  when  he  was  buried  afterwards  in  the 
Poets'  Corner  of  Westminster  Abbey  the  fact  was  recognised.  A  guard 
of  Polish  exiles  escorted  his  remains,  and  a  handful  of  earth  from  the 
tomb  of  Kosciusko  was  thrown  into  his  grave. 

After  1831  his  purely  literary  work  added  little  to  his  fame.  The 
Metropolitan  Magazine^  in  which  he  took  a  third  share,  soon  passed 
into  other  hands.  It  had  contained  his  "  Letters  from  the  South," 
the  fruit  of  a  visit  to  Algiers  in  1832.  Other  works  to  which  his 
name  was  put,  a  "Life  of  Mrs.  Siddons"  in  1834,  a  "Life  of 
Petrarch"  in  1841,  and  lives  of  Sir  Thomas  Lawrence  and  of  Frederick 
the  Great  in  1843,  were  mostly  the  product  of  other  pens.  And  his 
last  considerable  poem,  "The  Pilgrim  of  Glencoe,"  in  1842,  showed 
no  spark  of  his  early  fire. 

At  length  his  health  failed.  In  the  summer  of  1843  he  sold  his  furni- 
ture, and  retired  with  a  favourite  niece  to  Boulogne.  And  there  on 
Tune  15  of  the  next  year  he  died.  The  "Life  and  Letters"  of  the 
poet,  by  William  Beattie,  M.D.,  appeared  in  three  volumes  in  1849. 

The  poet  was  small  in  person,  scrupulously  neat  in  attire,  and 
though  naturally  indolent,  extremely  witty  and  entertaining  in  con- 
genial company.  The  late  veteran  Sidney  Cooper  says  of  him  in 
his  "Recollections,"  "Another  most  amusing  man,  full  of  jokes  and 
anecdotes,  and  as  bright  and  sharp  as  a  needle,  whom  I  met  at 
Charles  Knight's,  was  Thomas  Campbell,  the  poet.  He  was  a 
peculiar-looking  man,  with  sharp  blue  eyes,  a  long  and  tapering  nose 
that  would  go  through  a  keyhole,  of  fresh  colour,  and,  I  think, 
marked  with  the  smallpox.  He  was  a  man  of  keen  observation,  and 
always  delightful  company — a  man  who  impressed  and  singularly 
attracted  me."  Lord  Lytton  also  has  left  a  picture  of  the  poet. 
"Campbell,"  he  says,  "asked  me  to  come  and  sup  with  him 
tete-a-tete.  I  did  so.  I  went  at  ten  o'clock;  I  stayed  till  dawn, 
and  all  my  recollections  of  the  most  sparkling  talk  I  have  ever 
heard  in  drawing-rooms  afford  nothing  to  equal  the  riotous  affluence 
of  wit,  of  humour,  of  fancy,  of  genius,  that  the  great  lyrist  poured 
forth  in  his  wondrous  monologue." 
L 


146        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Campbell's  poetry  links  the  age  of  Cowper  with  that  of  Tennyson. 
Southey  and  Wordsworth  were  his  continuous  contemporaries,  and 
during  his  time  he  saw  blaze  up  and  pass  away  the  sun-splendour  of 
Scott's  genius  and  the  brilliant  constellation  of  Byron,  Shelley,  and 
Keats.  Of  his  longer  poems,  "The  Pleasures  of  Hope"  remains  by 
far  the  best,  and  many  of  its  lines  and  happy  epithets  have  passed  into 
current  coin  of  speech.  But  it  is  by  his  lyrics  that  his  fame  endures. 
These  remain  '  *  among  the  finest  in  any  language. " 


HOHENLINDEN 

On  Linden,  when  the  sun  was  low, 
All  bloodless  lay  the  untrodden  snow, 
And  dark  as  winter  was  the  flow 
Of  Iser,  rolling  rapidly. 

But  Linden  saw  another  sight 
When  the  drums  beat  at  dead  of  night, 
Commanding  fires  of  death  to  light 
The  darkness  of  her  scenery. 

By  torch  and  trumpet  fast  arrayed, 
Each  horseman  drew  his  battle-blade, 
And  furious  every  charger  neighed 
To  join  the  dreadful  revelry. 

Then  shook  the  hills  with  thunder  riven  ; 
Then  rushed  the  steed  to  battle  driven ; 
And  louder  than  the  bolts  of  heaven, 
Far  flashed  the  red  artillery. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  147 

But  redder  yet  that  light  shall  glow 
On  Linden's  hills  of  stained  snow, 
And  bloodier  yet  the  torrent  flow 
Of  Iser,  rolling  rapidly. 

Tis  morn,  but  scarce  yon  level  sun 
Can  pierce  the  war-clouds,  rolling  dun, 
Where  furious  Frank  and  fiery  Hun 

Shout  in  their  sulphurous  canopy. 

The  combat  deepens.     On,  ye  brave, 
Who  rush  to  glory,  or  the  grave  ! 
Wave,  Munich  !  all  thy  banners  wave  ! 

And  charge  with  all  thy  chivalry  ! 

Few,  few  shall  part  where  many  meet ! 
The  snow  shall  be  their  winding-sheet, 
And  every  turf  beneath  their  feet 

Shall  be  a  soldier's  sepulchre.         ^ 


THE   EXILE   OF   ERIN 

There  came  to  the  beach  a  poor  exile  of  Erin, 

The  dew  on  his  thin  robe  was  heavy  and  chill : 
For  his  country  he  sighed  when  at  twilight  repairing 

To  wander  alone  by  the  wind-beaten  hill. 

But  the  day-star  attracted  his  eye's  sad  devotion, 

For  it  rose  o'er  his  own  native  isle  of  the  ocean, 

Where  once,  in  the  fire  of  his  youthful  emotion, 

He  sang  the  bold  anthem  of  Erin  go  bragh. 


148        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Sad  is  my  fate  !  said  the  heart-broken  stranger, 
The  wild  deer  and  wolf  to  a  covert  can  flee ; 

But  I  have  no  refuge  from  famine  and  danger — 
A  home  and  a  country  remain  not  to  me. 

Never  again  in  the  green  sunny  bowers, 

Where  my  forefathers  lived,  shall  I  spend  the  sweet  hours, 

Or  cover  my  harp  with  the  wild-woven  flowers, 
And  strike  to  the  numbers  of  Erin  go  bragh  ! 

,  Erin,  my  country  !  though  sad  and  forsaken, 
In  dreams  I  revisit  thy  sea-beaten  shore ; 

But  alas !  in  a  far  foreign  land  I  awaken, 

And  sigh  for  the  friends  who  can  meet  me  no  more ! 

Oh  cruel  fate  !  wilt  thou  never  replace  me 

In  a  mansion  of  peace,  where  no  perils  can  chase  me  ? 

Never  again  shall  my  brothers  embrace  me  ! 
They  died  to  defend  me,  or  live  to  deplore. 

Where  is  my  cabin  door  fast  by  the  wildwood  ? 

Sisters  and  sire,  did  ye  weep  for  its  fall  ? 
Where  is  the  mother  that  looked  on  my  childhood  ? 

And  where  is  the  bosom-friend,  dearer  than  all  ? 
Oh,  my  sad  heart !  long  abandoned  by  pleasure, 
Why  did  it  doat  on  a  fast-fading  treasure  ? 
Tears  like  the  raindrop  may  fall  without  measure, 

But  rapture  and  beauty  they  cannot  recall. 

Yet,  all  its  sad  recollection  suppressing, 
One  dying  wish  my  lone  bosom  can  draw : 

Erin  !  an  exile  bequeaths  thee  his  blessing  ! 
Land  of  my  forefathers,  Erin  go  bragh  ! 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  149 

Buried  and  cold  when  my  heart  stills  her  motion, 
Green  be  thy  fields,  sweetest  isle  of  the  ocean  ! 
And  thy  harp-striking  bards  sing  aloud  with  devotion 
Erin  mavourneen  !  Erin  go  bragh  ! 


YE   MARINERS   OF   ENGLAND 

Ye  mariners  of  England, 

That  guard  our  native  seas, 

Whose  flag  has  braved  a  thousand  years 

The  battle  and  the  breeze ! 

Your  glorious  standard  launch  again 

To  match  another  foe  ! 

And  sweep  through  the  deep, 

While  the  stormy  tempests  blow — 

While  the  battle  rages  loud  and  long, 

And  the  stormy  tempests  blow. 

The  spirits  of  your  fathers 
Shall  start  from  every  wave ; 
For  the  deck  it  was  their  field  of  fame, 
And  ocean  was  their  grave. 
Where  Blake  and  mighty  Nelson  fell 
Your  manly  hearts  shall  glow, 
As  ye  sweep  through  the  deep, 
While  the  stormy  tempests  blow- 
While  the  battle  rages  loud  and  long, 
And  the  stormy  tempests  blow. 


150        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

Britannia  needs  no  bulwark, 

No  towers  along  the  steep ; 

Her  march  is  o'er  the  mountain-waves, 

Her  home  is  on  the  deep. 

With  thunders  from  her  native  oak 

She  quells  the  floods  below, 

As  they  roar  on  the  shore 

When  the  stormy  tempests  blow — 

When  the  battle  rages  loud  and  long, 

And  the  stormy  tempests  blow. 

The  meteor  flag  of  England 
Shall  yet  terrific  burn, 
Till  danger's  troubled  night  depart 
And  the  star  of  peace  return. 
Then,  then,  ye  ocean  warriors  ! 
Our  song  and  feast  shall  flow 
To  the  fame  of  your  name 
When  the  storm  has  ceased  to  blow- 
When  the  fiery  fight  is  heard  no  more, 
And  the  storm  has  ceased  to  blow. 


LOCHIEL'S    WARNING 

Wizard. — 

Lochiel,  Lochiel !  beware  of  the  day 
When  the  Lowlands  shall  meet  thee  in  battle  array  ! 
For  a  field  of  the  dead  rushes  red  on  my  sight, 
And  the  clans  of  Culloden  are  scattered  in  fight. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  151 

They  rally,  they  bleed,  for  their  kingdom  and  crown  : 
Woe,  woe,  to  the  riders  that  trample  them  down  ! 
Proud  Cumberland  prances,  insulting  the  slain, 
And  their  hoof-beaten  bosoms  are  trod  to  the  plain. 
But  hark  !  through  the  fast-flashing  lightning  of  war, 
What  steed  to  the  desert  flies  frantic  and  far  ? 
'Tis  thine,  oh  Glenullin  !  whose  bride  shall  await, 
Like  a  love-lighted  watch-fire,  all  night  at  the  gate. 
A  steed  comes  at  morning :  no  rider  is  there ; 
But  its  bridle  is  red  with  the  sign  of  despair. 
Weep,  Albyn  !  to  death  and  captivity  led  ! 
Oh,  weep !  but  thy  tears  cannot  number  the  dead. 
For  a  merciless  sword  on  Culloden  shall  wave — 
Culloden  !  that  reeks  with  the  blood  of  the  brave. 


LochieL — 

Go,  preach  to  the  coward,  thou  death-telling  seer ! 
Or,  if  gory  Culloden  so  dreadful  appear, 
Draw,  dotard,  around  thy  old  wavering  sight, 
This  mantle,  to  cover  the  phantoms  of  fright. 

Wizard. — 

Ha !  laugh'st  thou,  Lochiel,  my  vision  to  scorn  ? 

Proud  bird  of  the  mountain,  thy  plume  shall  be  torn  ! 

Say,  rushed  the  bold  eagle  exultantly  forth 

From  his  home  in  the  dark-rolling  clouds  of  the  north  ? 

Lo !  the  death-shot  of  foemen  outspeeding,  he  rode 

Companionless,  bearing  destruction  abroad. 

But  down  let  him  stoop  from  his  havoc  on  high ! 


152         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Ah !  home  let  him  speed,  for  the  spoiler  is  nigh. 
Why  flames  the  far  summit  ?     Why  shoot  to  the  blast 
Those  embers,  like  stars  from  the  firmament  cast  ? 
'Tis  the  fire-shower  of  ruin,  all  dreadfully  driven 
From  his  eyrie,  that  beacons  the  darkness  of  heaven. 
O  crested  Lochiel !  the  peerless  in  might, 
Whose  banners  arise  on  the  battlements'  height, 
Heaven's  fire  is  around  thee,  to  blast  and  to  burn ; 
Return  to  thy  dwelling  !  all  lonely  return  !; 
For  the  blackness  of  ashes  shall  mark  where  it  stood, 
And  a  wild  mother  scream  o'er  her  famishing  brood. 

Lochiel. — 

False  wizard,  avaunt !  I  have  marshalled  my  clan. 
Their  swords  are  a  thousand,  their  bosoms  are  one. 
They  are  true  to  the  last  of  their  blood  and  their  breath, 
And  like  reapers  descend  to  the  harvest  of  death. 
Then  welcome  be  Cumberland's  steed  to  the  shock ! 
Let  him  dash  his  proud  foam  like  a  wave  on  the  rock. 
But  woe  to  his  kindred,  and  woe  to  his  cause, 
When  Albyn  her  claymore  indignantly  draws ; 
When  her  bonneted  chieftains  to  victory  crowd, 
Clanranald  the  dauntless  and  Moray  the  proud, 
All  plaided  and  plumed  in  their  tartan  array 

Wizard.— 
Lochiel,  Lochiel !  beware  of  the  day  ! 


For,  dark  and  despairing,  my  sight  I  may  seal, 
But  man  cannot  cover  what  God  would  reveal. 


THOMAS    CAMPBELL  153 

Tis  the  sunset  of  life  gives  me  mystical  lore, 

And  coming  events  cast  their  shadows  before. 

I  tell  thee,  Culloden's  dread  echoes  shall  ring 

With  the  bloodhounds  that  bark  for  thy  fugitive  king. 

Lo !  anointed  by  Heaven  with  the  vials  of  wrath, 

Behold  where  he  flies  on  his  desolate  path ! 

Now  in  darkness  and  billows  he  sweeps  from  my  sight : 

Rise,  rise,  ye  wild  tempests,  and  cover  his  flight ! 

'Tis  finished.     Their  thunders  are  hushed  on  the  moors 

Culloden  is  lost,  and  my  country  deplores. 

But  where  is  the  iron-bound  prisoner  ?     Where  ? 

For  the  red  eye  of  battle  is  shut  in  despair. 

Say,  mounts  he  the  ocean  wave,  banished,  forlorn, 

Like  a  limb  from  his  country  cast  bleeding  and  torn  ? 

Ah,  no  !  for  a  darker  departure  is  near. 

The  war-drum  is  muffled,  and  black  is  the  bier : 

His  death-bell  is  tolling  :  oh  !  mercy,  dispel 

Yon  sight,  that  it  freezes  my  spirit  to  tell ! 

Life  flutters  convulsed  in  his  quivering  limbs, 

And  his  blood-streaming  nostril  in  agony  swims. 

Accursed  be  the  fagots  that  blaze  at  his  feet, 

Where  his  heart  shall  be  thrown  ere  it  ceases  to  beat, 

With  the  smoke  of  its  ashes  to  poison  the  gale 

Lochiel. — 
Down,  soothless  insulter  !  I  trust  not  the  tale. 


For  never  shall  Albyn  a  destiny  meet 

So  black  with  dishonour,  so  foul  with  retreat. 

Though  my  perishing  ranks  should  be  strewed  in  their  gore, 

Like  ocean-weeds  heaped  on  the  surf-beaten  shore, 


154        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Lochiel,  untainted  by  flight  or  by  chains, 

While  the  kindling  of  life  in  his  bosom  remains, 

Shall  victor  exult,  or  in  death  be  laid  low, 

With  his  back  to  the  field,  and  his  feet  to  the  foe ; 

And  leaving  in  battle  no  blot  on  his  name, 

Look  proudly  to  heaven  from  the  deathbed  of  fame. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  BALTIC 

Of  Nelson  and  the  North 

Sing  the  glorious  day's  renown 

When  to  battle  fierce  came  forth 

All  the  might  of  Denmark's  crown, 

And  her  arms  along  the  deep  proudly  shone ; 

By  each  gun  the  lighted  brand 

In  a  bold,  determined  hand, 

And  the  Prince  of  all  the  land 

Led  them  on. 

Like  leviathans  afloat 

Lay  their  bulwarks  on  the  brine, 

While  the  sign  of  battle  flew 

On  the  lofty  British  line. 

It  was  ten  of  April  morn  by  the  chime. 

As  they  drifted  on  their  path 

There  was  silence  deep  as  death, 

And  the  boldest  held  his  breath 

For  a  time. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  155 

But  the  might  of  England  flushed 
To  anticipate  the  scene ; 
And  her  van  the  fleeter  rushed 
O'er  the  deadly  space  between. 
"  Hearts  of  oak  ! "  our  captains  cried ;  when 

each  gun 

From  its  adamantine  lips 
Spread  a  deathshade  round  the  ships, 
Like  the  hurricane  eclipse 
Of  the  sun. 

Again,  again,  again ! 

And  the  havoc  did  not  slack, 

Till  a  feebler  cheer  the  Dane 

To  our  cheering  sent  us  back. 

Their  shots  along  the  deep  slowly  boom, 

Then  cease,  and  all  is  wail, 

As  they  strike  the  shattered  sail, 

Or  in  conflagration  pale 

Light  the  gloom. 

Out  spoke  the  victor  then, 
As  he  hailed  them  o'er  the  wave ; 
"  Ye  are  brothers  !   ye  are  men  ! 
And  we  conquer  but  to  save. 
So  peace  instead  of  death  let  us  bring. 
But  yield,  proud  foe,  thy  fleet, 
With  the  crews,  at  England's  feet, 
And  make  submission  meet 
To  our  King." 


156        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Then  Denmark  blessed  our  chief, 

That  he  gave  her  wounds  repose  ; 

And  the  sounds  of  joy  and  grief 

From  her  people  wildly  rose, 

As  death  withdrew  his  shades  from  the  day, 

While  the  sun  looked  smiling  bright 

O'er  a  wide  and  woeful  sight, 

Where  the  fires  of  funeral  light 

Died  away. 

Now  joy,  old  England,  raise 

For  the  tidings  of  thy  might, 

By  the  festal  cities'  blaze, 

While  the  wine-cup  shines  in  light. 

And  yet,  amidst  that  joy  and  uproar, 

Let  us  think  of  them  that  sleep, 

Full  many  a  fathom  deep, 

By  thy  wild  and  stormy  steep, 

Elsinore ! 

Brave  hearts  !  to  Britain's  pride 

Once  so  faithful  and  so  true, 

On  the  deck  of  fame  that  died 

With  the  gallant  good  Riou  : 

Soft  sigh  the  winds  of  heaven  o'er  their  grave  ! 

While  the  billow  mournful  rolls, 

And  the  mermaid's  song  condoles, 

Singing  glory  to  the  souls 

Of  the  brave. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  157 


THE    LAST    MAN 

All  worldly  shapes  shall  melt  in  gloom, 

The  sun  himself  must  die, 
Before  this  mortal  shall  assume 

Its  immortality. 
I  saw  a  vision  in  my  sleep 
That  gave  my  spirit  strength  to  sweep 

Adown  the  gulf  of  time  : 
I  saw  the  last  of  human  mould 
That  shall  creation's  death  behold, 

As  Adam  saw  her  prime. 

The  sun's  eye  had  a  sickly  glare, 

The  earth  with  age  was  wan, 
The  skeletons  of  nations  were 

Around  that  lonely  man. 
Some  had  expired  in  fight — the  brands 
Still  rusted  in  their  bony  hands ; 

In  plague  and  famine  some. 
Earth's  cities  had  no  sound  nor  tread, 
And  ships  were  drifting  with  the  dead 

To  shores  where  all  was  dumb. 

Yet,  prophet-like,  that  lone  one  stood, 
With  dauntless  words  and  high, 

That  shook  the  sere  leaves  from  the  wood, 
As  if  a  storm  passed  by, 

Saying,  We're  twins  in  death,  proud  sun ! 


158        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

Thy  face  is  cold,  thy  race  is  run, 

Tis  mercy  bids  thee  go ; 
For  thou  ten  thousand  thousand  years 
Hast  seen  the  tide  of  human  tears 

That  shall  no  longer  flow. 

What  though,  beneath  thee,  man  put  forth 

His  pomp,  his  pride,  his  skill, 
And  arts  that  made  fire,  flood,  and  earth 

The  vassals  of  his  will ! 
Yet  mourn  I  not  thy  parted  sway, 
Thou  dim,  discrowned  king  of  day  ! 

For  all  these  trophied  arts 
And  triumphs,  that  beneath  thee  sprang, 
Healed  not  a  passion  or  a  pang 

Entailed  on  human  hearts. 

Go  !     Let  oblivion's  curtain  fall 

Upon  the  stage  of  men, 
Nor  with  thy  rising  beams  recall 

Life's  tragedy  again. 
Its  piteous  pageants  bring  not  back, 
Nor  waken  flesh,  upon  the  rack 

Of  pain  anew  to  writhe- 
Stretched  in  disease's  shapes  abhorred, 
Or  mown  in  battle  by  the  sword, 

Like  grass  beneath  the  scythe. 

Even  I  am  weary  in  yon  skies 
To  watch  thy  fading  fire. 
Test  of  all  sumless  agonies, 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  159 

Behold  not  me  expire ! 
My  lips,  that  speak  thy  dirge  of  death, 
Their  rounded  gasp  and  gurgling  breath 

To  see  thou  shalt  not  boast. 
The  eclipse  of  nature  spreads  my  pall ; 
The  majesty  of  darkness  shall 

Receive  my  parting  ghost. 

This  spirit  shall  return  to  Him 

Who  gave  its  heavenly  spark ; 
Yet  think  not,  Sun,  it  shall  be  dim 

When  thou  thyself  art  dark. 
No  !  it  shall  live  again,  and  shine 
In  bliss  unknown  to  beams  of  thine — 

By  Him  recalled  to  breath, 
Who  captive  led  captivity, 
Who  robbed  the  grave  of  victory, 

And  took  the  sting  from  death. 

Go,  Sun  !  while  mercy  holds  me  up 

On  nature's  awful  waste, 
To  drink  this  last  and  bitter  cup 

Of  grief  that  man  shall  taste. 
Go  !  tell  the  night  that  hides  thy  face, 
Thou  saw'st  the  last  of  Adam's  race, 

On  earth's  sepulchral  clod, 
The  darkening  universe  defy 
To  quench  his  immortality, 

Or  shake  his  trust  in  God  ! 


160        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


THE   SOLDIER'S    DREAM 

Our  bugles  sang  truce,  for  the  night-cloud  had  lowered, 
And  the  sentinel  stars  set  their  watch  in  the  sky ! 

And  thousands  had  sunk  on  the  ground  overpowered, 
The  weary  to  sleep,  and  the  wounded  to  die. 

When  reposing  that  night  on  my  pallet  of  straw, 
By  the  wolf-scaring  fagot  that  guarded  the  slain, 

At  the  dead  of  the  night  a  sweet  vision  I  saw, 
And  twice  ere  the  morning  I  dreamt  it  again. 

Methought  from  the  battlefield's  dreadful  array 
Far,  far  I  had  roamed  on  a  desolate  track : 

'Twas  autumn,  and  sunshine  arose  on  the  way 

To  the  home  of  my  fathers,  that  welcomed  me  back. 

I  flew  to  the  pleasant  fields,  traversed  so  oft 

In  life's  morning  march,  when  my  bosom  was  young ; 

I  heard  my  own  mountain  goats  bleating  aloft, 

And  knew  the  sweet  strain  that  the  corn-reapers  sung. 

Then  pledged  we  the  wine-cup,  and  fondly  I  swore 
From  my  home  and  my  weeping  friends  never  to  part ; 

My  little  ones  kissed  me  a  thousand  times  o'er, 
And  my  wife  sobbed  aloud  in  her  fulness  of  heart. 

"  Stay,  stay  with  us  ! — rest ! — thou  art  weary  and  worn  ! " 

And  fain  was  their  war-broken  soldier  to  stay ! 
But  sorrow  returned  with  the  dawning  of  morn, 
And  the  voice  in  my  dreaming  ear  melted  away. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  161 


TO   THE   EVENING   STAR 

Star  that  bringest  home  the  bee, 
And  sett'st  the  weary  labourer  free ! 
If  any  star  shed  peace,  'tis  thou, 

That  send'st  it  from  above, 
Appearing  when  heaven's  breath  and  brow 

Are  sweet  as  hers  we  love. 

Come  to  the  luxuriant  skies 
Whilst  the  landscape's  odours  rise, 
Whilst,  far  off,  lowing  herds  are  heard, 

And  songs,  when  toil  is  done, 
From  cottages  whose  smoke,  unstirred, 

Curls  yellow  in  the  sun. 

Star  of  love's  soft  interviews  ! 
Parted  lovers  on  thee  muse. 
Their  remembrancer  in  heaven 

Of  thrilling  vows  thou  art 

Too  delicious  to  be  riven 

By  absence  from  the  heart. 


LORD    ULLIN'S   DAUGHTER 

A  chieftain  to  the  Highlands  bound, 
Cries  "  Boatman,  do  not  tarry  ! 

And  I'll  give  thee  a  silver  pound 

To  row  us  o'er  the  ferry." 
M 


i6a         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

"  Now  who  be  ye  would  cross  Lochgyle — 
This  dark  and  stormy  water  ?  " 

"  Oh,  I'm  the  chief  of  Ulva's  isle, 
And  this  Lord  Ullin's  daughter. 

"  And  fast  before  her  father's  men 
Three  days  we've  fled  together, 
For,  should  he  find  us  in  the  glen, 
My  blood  would  stain  the  heather. 

"  His  horsemen  hard  behind  us  ride ; 

Should  they  our  steps  discover, 
Then  who  will  cheer  my  bonnie  bride, 
When  they  have  slain  her  lover  ?  " 

Out  spoke  the  hardy  Highland  wight, 
"I'll  go,  my  chief;  I'm  ready. 

It  is  not  for  your  silver  bright, 
But  for  your  winsome  lady  ! 

"  And,  by  my  word,  the  bonnie  bird 

In  danger  shall  not  tarry ; 
So,  though  the  waves  are  raging  white, 
I'll  row  you  o'er  the  ferry." 

By  this  the  storm  grew  loud  apace, 
The  water-wraith  was  shrieking  ; 

And  in  the  scowl  of  heaven  each  face 
Grew  dark  as  they  were  speaking. 

And  still,  as  wilder  blew  the  wind, 
And  as  the  night  grew  drearer, 

Adown  the  glen  rode  armed  men  ; 
Their  trampling  sounded  nearer. 


THOMAS   CAMPBELL  163 

"  O  haste  thee,  haste  ! "  the  lady  cries, 

"  Though  tempests  round  us  gather  : 
I'll  meet  the  raging  of  the  skies, 
But  not  an  angry  father  ! " 

The  boat  has  left  a  stormy  land, 

A  stormy  sea  before  her ; 
When,  oh  !  too  strong  for  human  hand, 

The  tempest  gathered  o'er  her. 

And  still  they  rowed  amidst  the  roar 

Of  waters  fast  prevailing. 
Lord  Ullin  reached  that  fatal  shore : 

His  wrath  was  changed  to  wailing. 

For  sore  dismayed,  through  storm  and  shade, 

His  child  he  did  discover : 
One  lovely  hand  she  stretched  for  aid, 

And  one  was  round  her  lover. 

"  Come  back  !  come  back  !  "  he  cried  in  grief, 

"  Across  this  stormy  water ; 
And  I'll  forgive  your  Highland  chief — 
My  daughter  ! — oh  my  daughter  ! " 

'Twas  vain ;  the  loud  waves  lashed  the  shore, 

Return  or  aid  preventing  : 
The  waters  wild  went  o'er  his  child, 

And  he  was  left  lamenting. 


WALTER  WATSON 

1780-1854 

LIKE  many  another  outlying  village  in  the  end  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  Chryston,  a  few  miles  to  the  north,  derived  its  livelihood 
from  the  weaving  of  Glasgow  muslins.  Among  its  weavers  was  Walter 
Watson,  "the  Chryston  Poet,"  author  of  "  Sae  will  we  yet,"  and 
other  popular  songs.  Born  of  humble  parents,  and  picking  up  a  scant 
education  as  he  could,  he  passed  from  herding  kye  to  winding  pirns, 
and  at  length  to  his  father's  trade  of  the  loom.  Of  a  restless  turn  of 
mind,  he  tried  in  turn  farm  labour  and  the  well-paid  work  of  a  sawyer 
in  Glasgow,  and  finally,  at  the  age  of  nineteen,  took  the  King's  shilling 
from  a  recruiting  sergeant  at  the  Tontine.  He  served  in  the  Scots 
Greys  for  three  years  with  no  more  thrilling  experience  than  a  review 
by  George  III.  at  Weymouth,  and  was  discharged  at  the  Peace  of 
Amiens  in  1802.  Returning  then  to  his  native  village  he  resumed  his 
early  occupation  at  the  loom,  and  seems  to  have  fallen  at  once  into  the 
toils  of  poetry  and  love.  Nothing  stood  in  the  way  of  his  love  affairs, 
and  he  married  Margaret  Wilson,  a  farmer's  daughter  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood, in  1803.  But  his  instinct  for  rhythm  and  rhyme  was  sadly 
hampered  by  the  fact,  pointed  out  by  the  village  schoolmaster,  that  he 
was  totally  ignorant  of  grammar.  By  means  of  an  old  school-book, 
however,  and  a  spell  of  close  study,  the  difficulty  was  overcome,  and 
the  poet  had  soon  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  several  of  his  songs, 
"Jockie's  far  awa',"  "The  Braes  o'  Bedlay,"  and  others,  become 
widely  popular. 

An  amusing  story  of  his  early  days  is  told  by  his  friend,  Hugh  Mac- 
donald.  Watson  wrote  "  The  Braes  o'  Bedlay  "  in  order  to  gain  favour 
with  the  lord  of  the  manor.  He  took  it  to  the  "big  house"  and 
handed  it  in  person  to  the  great  man.  To  his  astonishment,  however, 
the  laird  took  the  lovers'  ramble  described  in  the  song  literally,  and 
instead  of  praising  the  poetry,  threatened  its  author  with  a  prosecution 
for  trespass. 


WALTER   WATSON  165 

The  success  of  his  fugitive  pieces  induced  Watson  to  publish  a  small 
collection  of  his  poems  in  1808.  It  brought  him  reputation,  but  no 
profit,  and  further  volumes  put  forth  in  1823  and  1843  respectively 
merely  increased  his  fame  without  mending  his  fortunes. 

Meanwhile  the  poet's  life  was  that  of  the  struggling  peasant.  He 
was  local  secretary  of  the  combination  of  weavers — one  of  the  earliest 
essays  at  trades-unionism — which  succeeded  in  raising  the  wages  of  the 
craft  in  the  years  1808-11,  but  in  the  dull  times  that  followed  Waterloo 
he  was  forced  from  the  loom  to  the  saw-pit,  and  at  one  period  even  to 
stone-breaking  for  a  livelihood.  He  had  a  family  of  eight  sons  and 
two  daughters,  and  it  was  only  when  some  of  them  were  able  to  help 
him  as  weavers  that  he  attained  some  small  share  of  comfort.  After 
many  removals  about  the  country  in  the  wake  of  work,  Watson  spent 
the  last  four  years  of  his  life  at  Duntiblae,  near  Kirkintilloch,  and  there 
he  died  of  cholera  in  1854. 

A  cheery  old  man,  whose  belief  in  life  found  expression  in  his  own 
song,  "  We've  aye  been  provided  for,  and  sae  will  we  yet,"  the  poet 
made  friends  wherever  he  went.  The  village  concerts  with  which  he 
eked  out  a  living  in  his  last  days  were  always  crowded  ;  and  he  had 
the  satisfaction  in  the  year  before  he  died  of  seeing  a  selection  of  his 
best  pieces,  with  a  memoir  by  Hugh  Macdonald,  published  with  great 
success.  An  obelisk  was  erected  on  the  spot  of  his  birth  in  1875,  and 
in  1877  a  complete  edition  of  his  poems  was  published  at  Glasgow. 
Watson's  most  ambitious  piece,  "  Chryston  Fair,"  depicts  with  racy 
force  the  humours  of  a  Scottish  rural  festival ;  and  his  rhyming 
epistles  are  packed  with  shrewd  wisdom  and  practical  philosophy  ;  but 
he  is  remembered  best  by  a  few  short  pieces  and  happy  lines. 


SAE  WILL  WE  YET 

Come  sit  down,  my  cronie,  and  gie  me  your  crack ; 
Let  the  win'  tak'  the  cares  o'  this  life  on  its  back ; 
Our  hearts  to  despondency  we  ne'er  will  submit, 
We've  aye  been  provided  for,  and  sae  will  we  yet. 
And  sae  will  we  yet,  etc. 


1 66        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Let's  ca'  for  a  tankard  o'  nappy  brown  ale, 
It  will  comfort  our  hearts  and  enliven  our  tale ; 
We'll  aye  be  the  merrier  the  langer  that  we  sit, 
We've  drank  wi'  ither  mony  a  time,  and  sae  will  we  yet. 
And  sae  will  we  yet,  etc. 

Sae  rax  me  your  mull,  and  my  nose  I  will  prime ; 
Let  mirth  an'  sweet  innocence  employ  a'  our  time ; 
Nae  quarrelling  nor  fighting  we  here  will  admit ; 
We've  parted  aye  in  unity,  an'  sae  will  we  yet. 
And  sae  will  we  yet,  etc. 

Let  the  glass  keep  its  course,  and  gae  merrily  roun' ; 
The  sun  has  to  rise,  though  the  moon  should  gae  doun ; 
Till  the  house  be  rinnin'  roun'  about,  'tis  time  enough  to 

flit; 

When  we  fell  we  aye  wan  up  again,  an'  sae  will  we  yet. 
And  sae  will  we  yet,  etc. 


THE  WIDOW 

Welcome,  my  Johnnie,  buirdly  and  bonnie ! 

Ye're  my  conceit,  though  I'm  courted  by  mony ; 

Come  to  the  spence  wi'  me,  my  merry  pleughman — 

Mak'  it  your  hame,  ye'll  be  baith  het  and  fu',  man. 
Baith  het  and  fu',  man,  baith  het  and  fu'  man, 
Mak'  it  your  hame,  ye'll  be  baith  het  and  fu',  man. 


WALTER   WATSON  167 

Ye  sail  hae  plenty  gin  ye  be  tenty ; 
Year  after  year  I  hae  doublet  the  rent  aye ; 
Byrefu's  o'  horse  and  kye,  barnfu's  o'  grain,  man, 
Beukfu's  o'  notes,  and  a  farm  o'  your  ain,  man. 
Farm  o'  your  ain,  etc. 

Market  or  fair,  man,  ye  may  be  there,  man, 
Selling  and  buying,  wi'  plenty  to  ware,  man, 
Clad  like  a  laird  in  the  brawest  and  warmest, 
On  a  gude  beast  will  haud  up  wi'  the  foremost. 
Up  wi'  the  foremost,  etc. 

Tawpie  young  lasses,  keekin'  in  glasses, 
Waste  a'  their  siller  on  trinkets  and  dresses. 
Think  wi'  yoursel',  Johnnie,  tak'  wha  ye've  need  o' ; 
Ye  may  do  waur  that  draw  up  wi'  the  widow. 
Up  wi'  the  widow,  etc. 


JOHN    FINLAY 

1782-1810 

JOHN  FINLAY  is  remembered  rather  as  a  collector  and  preserver  of 
old  Scottish  folksongs  than  as  a  maker  of  original  poetry.  He  was 
possessor,  nevertheless,  of  a  true  poetic  vein,  and  has  left  more  than 
one  addition  to  the  ballad  and  lyric  minstrelsy  of  Scotland. 

Born  of  parents  in  humble  life  at  Glasgow,  he  entered  the  University 
at  the  age  of  fourteen,  and  distinguished  himself  there  not  only  by 
proficiency,  but  by  the  elegance  of  his  prose  essays,  and  the  spirit 
of  his  classical  odes.  While  still  at  college,  in  1802,  he  published 
"Wallace,  or  the  Vale  of  Ellerslie,  with  other  poems."  Of  this 
Professor  Wilson,  his  class-fellow  and  friend,  afterwards  said,  "It 
possesses  both  the  merits  and  defects  which  we  look  for  in  the  early 
compositions  of  true  genius."  A  third  edition  was  issued  in  1817. 
Choosing  a  life  of  letters,  Finlay  went  to  London  in  1807,  and 
contributed  to  the  press  many  articles  on  antiquarian  subjects.  Next 
year,  having  returned  to  Glasgow,  he  published  his  collection  of  "Scot- 
tish Historical  and  Romantic  Ballads,"  which  was  highly  praised  by  Sir 
Walter  Scott.  During  his  short  life  he  also  wrote  a  ' '  Life  of  Cervantes," 
and  produced  editions  of  Blair's  "Grave"  and  Smith's  "Wealth  of 
Nations."  He  refused,  on  account  of  the  risk,  the  generous  offer  of 
Professor  Richardson,  of  Glasgow  University  to  set  him  up  as  a  printer, 
and,  still  hoping  to  establish  himself  as  a  man  of  letters,  planned  a 
continuation  of  Warton's  "History  of  English  Poetry."  But  in  1810, 
on  his  way  to  visit  Wilson  at  Elleray,  he  was  seized  with  apoplexy  at 
Moffat,  and  died  there  on  8th  December.  A  tribute  to  his  memory, 
from  Wilson's  pen,  appeared  in  BlackwoocTs  Magazine  on  the  publica- 
tion of  the  new  edition  of  "  Wallace  "  in  1817. 


JOHN    FINLAY  169 


O  COME  WITH  ME 

O  come  with  me,  for  the  queen  of  night 
Is  throned  on  high  in  her  beauty  bright ; 
JTis  now  the  silent  hour  of  even, 
When  all  is  still  in  earth  and  heaven : 
The  cold  flowers  which  the  valley  strew 
Are  sparkling  bright  with  pearly  dew, 
And  hushed  is  e'en  the  bee's  soft  hum, 
Then  come  with  me,  sweet  Mary,  come ! 

The  opening  bluebell,  Scotland's  pride, 
In  heaven's  pure  azure  deeply  dyed, 
The  daisy  meek  from  the  dewy  dale, 
The  wild  thyme,  and  the  primrose  pale, 
With  the  lily  from  the  glassy  lake — 
Of  these  a  fragrant  wreath  I'll  make, 
And  bind  them  'mid  the  locks  that  flow 
In  rich  luxuriance  from  thy  brow. 

O  love  !  without  thee  what  were  life  ? 

A  bustling  scene  of  care  and  strife — 

A  waste  where  no  green  flowery  glade 

Is  found,  for  shelter  or  for  shade. 

But,  cheered  by  thee,  the  griefs  we  share 

We  can  with  calm  composure  bear ; 

For  the  darkest  night  of  care  and  toil 

Is  bright  when  blessed  with  woman's  smile. 


1 70        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


ISABELLA 

I  heard  the  evening  linnet's  voice  the  woodland  tufts  among, 
Yet  sweeter  were  the  tender  notes  of  Isabella's  song. 
So  soft  into  the  ear  they  steal,  so  soft  into  the  soul, 
The  deepening  pain  of  love  they  soothe,  and  sorrows  pang 
control. 

I  looked  upon  the  pure  brook  that  murmured  through  the 

glade, 

And  mingled  in  the  melody  that  Isabella  made ; 
Yet  purer  was  the  residence  of  Isabella's  heart, 
Above  the  reach  of  pride  and  guile,  above  the  reach  of  art. 

I  looked  upon  the  azure  of  the  deep  unclouded  sky, 
Yet  clearer  was  the  blue  serene  of  Isabella's  eye. 
Ne'er  softer  fell  the  raindrop  of  the  first  relenting  year 
Than  falls  from  Isabella's  eye  the  pity-melted  tear. 

All  this  my  fancy  prompted  ere  a  sigh  of  sorrow  proved 
How  hopelessly,  yet  faithfully  and  tenderly  I  loved. 
Yet,  though  bereft  of  hope,  I  love,  still  will  I  love  the  more, 
As  distance  binds  the  exile's  heart  to  his  dear  native  shore. 


ALEXANDER   RODGER 

1784-1846 

WHEN  the  first  series  of  "  Whistle-binkie  "  was  issued  in  1832  from 
David  Robertson's  shop  at  the  foot  of  Glassford  Street,  then  the 
favourite  literary  howf  of  Glasgow,  its  best  and  most  characteristic 
contributions  were  from  the  pens  of  William  Motherwell  and  Alexander 
Rodger.  It  was  the  pawky  humour  of  pieces  like  Rodger's  "  Robin 
Tamson's  Smiddy"  and  "Behave  yoursel'  before  folk,"  contrasting 
with  the  pathos  of  poems  like  Mother  well's  "Jeanie  Morrison"  and 
"My  heid  is  like  to  rend,  Willie,"  which  struck  the  public  taste  so 
strongly,  and  made  the  curious  poetic  venture  a  success.  Not  less 
striking  was  the  contrast  between  the  characters,  opinions,  and  careers 
of  the  two  contributors. 

The  "Radical  Poet,"  as  Rodger  has  been  called,  was  born  at  East 
Calder,  Midlothian,  i6th  July,  1784.  His  mother  was  in  weak  health, 
and  for  the  first  seven  years  of  his  life  he  was  cared  for  by  two  maiden 
sisters  named  Lonie.  His  father,  meanwhile,  having  given  up  the 
farm  of  Haggs,  near  Dalmahoy,  of  which  he  had  been  tenant,  had 
become  an  innkeeper  in  Mid- Calder,  and  there  the  future  poet  was  put 
to  school.  Five  years  later  the  family  removed  to  Edinburgh,  and  the 
boy  was  set  to  learn  the  trade  of  silversmith  with  a  Mr.  Mathie.  This 
apprenticeship,  however,  was  cut  short  in  twelve  months  by  the 
financial  collapse  of  his  father,  who  fled  to  Hamburgh.  The  lad 
was  then  brought  to  Glasgow  by  his  mother's  friends,  who  had  be- 
come strongly  attached  to  him,  and  who  apprenticed  him  to  a  weaver 
named  Dunn,  at  the  Drygate  Toll,  near  the  Cathedral.  In  1803,  seized 
with  the  prevailing  fever  of  patriotism,  he  joined  the  Glasgow  Highland 
Volunteers,  in  which  regiment,  and  its  successor,  the  Glasgow  High- 
land Locals,  he  remained  for  nine  years.  Meanwhile,  in  1806,  being 
twenty-two  years  of  age,  he  married  Agnes  Turner,  and  removed  to 
what  was  then  the  village  of  Bridgeton,  to  the  east  of  the  city.  There, 
to  support  a  quickly -growing  family,  he  added  the  profits  of  music-teach- 


THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

ing  to  those  of  weaving,  and  in  his  leisure  hours  solaced  himself  with 
the  making  of  poetry.  Perhaps  his  earliest  effort  was  a  poem,  "  Bolivar," 
written  on  seeing  in  the  Glasgow  Chronicle,  in  1816,  that  that  patriot 
had  set  free  seventy  thousand  slaves  in  Venezuela.  The  peculiarities, 
also,  of  the  Highland  members  of  his  volunteer  regiment  furnished  him 
with  subjects  for  several  satirical  pieces. 

This  furor  scribendi^  however,  was  presently  to  bring  him  to  trouble. 
1816-1820  were  the  Radical  years,  when,  amid  the  distress  following 
Waterloo,  political  agitation  rose  to  a  dangerous  pitch.  In  1819  The 
Spirit  of  the  Union,  a  strongly  political  paper,  was  started  in  Glasgow 
by  Gilbert  Macleod,  and  Rodger  became  sub-editor.  But  after  the 
publication  of  the  tenth  number  Macleod  was  arrested,  tried,  and 
sentenced  to  transportation  for  life,  and  Rodger  became  a  suspect.  In 
after  days  he  used  to  tell  how,  when  his  house  was  searched  for  seditious 
publications,  he  placed  his  Family  Bible  in  the  officer's  hands,  that 
being,  as  he  said,  the  only  treasonable  book  in  his  possession,  and  he 
pointed  to  the  chapter  on  kings  in  the  second  book  of  Samuel.  Never- 
theless, on  the  appearance  of  the  famous  "  treasonable  address"  on  the 
walls  of  Glasgow,  signed  by  a  "  Provisional  Government,"  Rodger  was 
actually  arrested,  and  imprisoned  for  eleven  days  in  Bridewell.  There, 
in  solitary  confinement,  he  consoled  himself,  and  aggravated  his  gaolers, 
by  singing  his  own  political  compositions  at  the  loudest  of  his  lungs. 

In  1821  he  obtained  employment  as  inspector  of  cloths  at  Barrow- 
field  Printworks,  and  during  his  eleven  years  in  that  situation  he  com- 
posed most  of  his  best  pieces.  At  the  same  time  the  poet's  political 
sympathies  were  by  no  means  hid  under  a  bushel.  When  George  IV. , 
in  1822,  visited  Edinburgh,  an  anonymous  squib  from  Rodger's  pen, 
"Sawney,  now  the  King's  Come,"  appeared  in  the  London  Examiner, 
creating  much  speculation  in  the  mind  of  the  public,  and  no  little  annoy- 
ance to  Sir  Walter  Scott,  whose  loyal  "Carle,  now  the  King's  Come," 
had  appeared  simultaneously.  And  when  Ilarvie  of  West  Thorn 
blocked  up  the  footpath  through  his  property  by  Clydeside  with  a  wall, 
it  was  by  Rodger's  strenuous  energy  that  the  public  movement  was 
directed  which  vindicated  the  right  of  way. 

A  friend  started  a  pawnbroking  business  in  Glasgow  in  1832,  and 
induced  the  poet  (of  all  men)  to  become  its  manager.  In  a  few  months, 
as  might  have  been  expected,  he  threw  up  the  position,  and  in  a  rhymed 
epistle  to  the  managers  of  Barrowfield  works  declared  his  readiness 


ALEXANDER   RODGER          173 

to  do  anything — "fire  their  furnaces,  or  weigh  their  coals,  wheel  bar- 
rows, riddle  ashes,  mend  up  holes,"  rather  than  stay  where  he  was 

"Obliged  each  day  and  hour  to  undergo 
The  pain  of  hearing  tales  of  want  or  woe." 

He  found  a  place  shortly,  however,  as  reader  and  reporter  on  the 
Glasgow  Chronicle;  and  a  year  later,  on  John  Tait  starting  a  Radical 
weekly,  the  Liberator,  Rodger  became  his  assistant.  Tait  died,  and  the 
paper  came  to  grief,  but  in  a  few  months  the  poet  found  a  place  in  the 
office  of  the  Reformer's  Gazette,  which  he  kept  till  his  death.  In  1836 
some  two  hundred  of  his  fellow-citizens  entertained  him  to  dinner  and 
presented  him  with  a  silver  box  full  of  sovereigns — "a  fruit  not  often 
found  on  the  barren  slopes  of  Parnassus. "  He  died  26th  September, 
1846,  and  was  buried  near  William  Motherwell  in  Glasgow  Necropolis, 
where  a  monument  marks  his  resting-place.  On  hearing  of  his  death 
the  Scotsmen  in  Cincinnati  collected  and  sent  to  David  Robertson,  the 
publisher,  a  sum  of  £12  as  a  gift  to  the  poet's  widow  and  children. 

Rodger's  first  avowed  appearance  as  an  author  was  in  1827,  with  a 
volume,  "  Peter  Cornclips,  a  Tale  of  Real  Life,  and  Other  Poems  and 
Songs."  In  1838  he  published  another  volume  of  "  Poems  and  Songs, 
Humorous  and  Satirical  "  ;  and  in  1842  "  Stray  Leaves  from  the  Port- 
folios of  Alisander  the  Seer,  Andrew  Whaup,  and  Humphrey  Hen- 
keckle" — these  being  the  nommes  de  plume  above  which  the  satirical 
contents  had  appeared  in  periodicals.  Since  then  select  editions  of 
his  poems  have  been  edited  by  Mr.  Robert  Ford  in  1896  and  1902. 
But  the  poet's  name  is  chiefly  associated  with  "  Whistle-binkie,"  in 
which  his  best  pieces  appeared,  and  of  which,  after  the  death  of  Carrick 
in  1835,  he  became  editor. 

The  political  heat  of  that  time  has  passed  away,  and  in  consequence 
"  Sandy  "  Rodger's  satires  have  lost  both  point  and  sting,  but  his  songs, 
touching  slily  and  not  unkindly  the  foibles  of  ordinary  human  nature, 
remain  amusing  as  ever,  and  the  hot-headed,  tender-hearted,  Radical 
poet  is  not  likely  to  be  forgotten.  The  late  Crimean  Simpson  has 
recorded  of  him  :  "  I  was  familiar  with  his  round,  short  figure  when  he 
was  connected  with  the  Reformer's  Gazette,  Peter  Mackenzie's  paper. 
I  used  to  see  him  regularly  about  Argyle  Street,  and  I  have  often  heard 
him  sing  his  own  songs  at  the  Saturday  Evening  Concerts,  which  he 
did  in  a  genial,  pawky  way." 


174         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 


ROBIN  TAMSON'S  SMIDDY 

My  mither  men't  my  auld  breeks, 

And  wow,  but  they  were  duddy  ! 
And  sent  me  to  get  Mally  shod 

At  Robin  Tamson's  smiddy. 
The  smiddy  stands  beside  the  burn 

That  wimples  through  the  clachan ; 
I  never  yet  gae  by  the  door 

But  aye  I  fa'  a-lauchin'. 

For  Robin  was  a  walthy  carle, 

And  had  ae  bonnie  dochter ; 
Yet  ne'er  wad  let  her  tak'  a  man, 

Though  mony  lads  had  socht  her. 
But  what  think  ye  o'  my  exploit  ? 

The  time  our  mare  was  shoein' 
I  slippit  up  beside  the  lass, 

And  briskly  fell  a-wooin'. 

And  aye  she  e'ed  my  auld  breeks, 

The  time  that  we  sat  crackin' : 
Quo'  I,  "  My  lass,  ne'er  mind  the  clouts, 

I've  new  anes  for  the  makin'. 
But  gin  ye'll  just  come  hame  wi'  me, 

And  lea'  the  carle,  your  faither, 
Ye'se  get  my  breeks  to  keep  in  trim, 

MyseP  and  a'  thegither," 


ALEXANDER   RODGER          175 

"Deed,  lad,"  quo'  she,  "  your  offer's  fair; 

I  really  think  I'll  tak'  it ; 
Sae  gang  awa',  get  out  the  mare, 

We'll  baith  slip  on  the  back  o't. 
For  gin  I  wait  my  faither's  time 

I'll  wait  till  I  be  fifty ; 
But  na,  I'll  marry  in  my  prime, 

And  mak'  a  wife  fu'  thrifty." 

Wow  !  Robin  was  an  angry  man 

At  tynin'  o'  his  dochter. 
Through  a'  the  kintra-side  he  ran, 

And  far  and  near  he  socht  her. 
But  when  he  cam'  to  our  fire-end, 

And  fand  us  baith  thegither, 
Quo'  I,  "  Gudeman,  I've  ta'en  your  bairn, 

And  ye  can  tak'  my  mither." 

Auld  Robin  girned,  and  shook  his  pow : 

"  Gude  sooth,"  quo'  he,  "  you're  merry, 
But  I'll  just  tak'  ye  at  your  word, 

And  end  this  hurry-burry." 
So  Robin  and  our  auld  wife 

Agreed  to  creep  thegither ; 
Now  I  hae  Robin  Tamson's  pet, 

And  Robin  has  my  mither. 


176         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 


BEHAVE  YOURSEL'  BEFORE  FOLK 

Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
And  dinna  be  sae  rude  to  me 
As  kiss  me  sae  before  folk  ! 

It  wadna  gie  me  meikle  pain, 
Gin  we  were  seen  and  heard  by  nane, 
-    To  tak'  a  kiss,  or  grant  you  ane  ; 
But  gudesake !  no  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Whate'er  you  do  when  out  o'  view, 
Be  cautious  aye  before  folk. 

Consider,  lad ,  how  folk  will  crack, 
And  what  a  great  affair  they'll  mak' 
O'  naething  but  a  simple  smack 
That's  gien  or  taen  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Nor  gie  the  tongue  o'  auld  or  young 
Occasion  to  come  o'er  folk. 

It's  no  through  hatred  o'  a  kiss 
That  I  sae  plainly  tell  you  this  ; 
But  losh  !  I  tak  it  sair  amiss 
To  be  sae  teased  afore  folk. 


ALEXANDER   RODGER         177 

Behave  yourseF  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk ! 
When  we're  oor  lane  ye  may  tak'  ane 
But  fient  a  ane  before  folk. 

I'm  sure  wi'  you  I've  been  as  free 
As  ony  modest  lass  should  be ; 
But  yet  it  doesna  do  to  see 

Sic  freedom  used  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
I'll  ne'er  submit  again  to  it — 
So  mind  ye  that — before  folk. 

Ye  tell  me  that  my  face  is  fair ; 
It  may  be  sae — I  dinna  care  ; 
But  ne'er  again  gar't  blush  sae  sair 
As  ye  hae  done  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Nor  heat  my  cheeks  wi'  your  mad  freaks ; 
But  aye  be  douce  before  folk. 

Ye  tell  me  that  my  lips  are  sweet : 
Sic  tales  I  doubt  are  a'  deceit ; 
At  onyrate  it's  hardly  meet 

To  pree  their  sweets  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Gin  that's  the  case,  there's  time  and  place, 

But  surely  no  before  folk. 
N 


i;8        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

But  gin  ye  really  do  insist 
That  I  should  suffer  to  be  kissed, 
Gae,  get  a  licence  frae  the  priest, 
And  mak'  me  yours  before  folk. 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
Behave  yoursel'  before  folk  ! 
And  when  we're  ane,  bluid,  flesh,  and  bane 
Ye  may  tak'  ten  before  folk.1 


THE  ANSWER 

Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk, 
When,  wily  elf,  your  sleeky  self 
Gars  me  gang  gyte  before  folk  ? 

In  a'  ye  do,  in  a'  ye  say, 
Ye've  sic  a  pawky,  coaxing  way, 
That  my  poor  wits  ye  lead  astray, 
And  ding  me  doit  before  folk  ! 


1 A  description  by  an  eye-witness  of  the  occasion  of  the  composition  of 
this  song  was  contributed  to  the  Glasgow  Weekly  Herald  for  1st  March, 
1902,  by  the  late  James  Dick,  of  gutta-percha  fame.  At  a  party  at 
"Granny  Muir's  "  in  honour  of  a  young  journalist  leaving  for  New 
York,  the  hero  of  the  evening  made  several  attempts  to  kiss  his 
sweetheart,  and  she  remonstrated  with  "  Behave  yourself  before  folk  !" 
Rodger,  who  was  one  of  the  company,  retired  to  another  room  for  a 
little,  and  on  returning  read  the  song  aloud,  and  handed  it  to  the 
young  man,  by  whom  it  was  published  first  in  America, 


ALEXANDER    RODGER         179 

Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk — 
While  ye  ensnare  can  I  forbear 
A-kissing,  though  before  folk  ? 

Can  I  behold  that  dimpling  cheek, 
Whare  love  'mong  sunny  smiles  might  beek, 
Yet,  howlet-like,  my  e'elids  steek, 
And  shun  sic  light,  before  folk  ? 
Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk, 
When  ilka  smile  becomes  a  wile, 
Enticing  me  before  folk  ? 

That  lip  like  Eve's  forbidden  fruit, 
Sweet,  plump,  and  ripe,  sae  tempts  me  to't, 
That  I  maun  pree't,  though  I  should  rue't, 
Aye,  twenty  times  before  folk. 
Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk, 
When  temptingly  it  offers  me 
So  rich  a  treat  before  folk  ? 

That  gowden  hair  sae  sunny  bright — 
That  shapely  neck  o'  snawy  white — 
That  tongue,  even  when  it  tries  to  flyte — 
Provokes  me  till't  before  folk. 
Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk, 
When  ilka  charm,  young,  fresh,  and  warm, 
Cries  "  Kiss  me  now  !  "  before  folk  ? 


i8o        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

And  oh  !  that  pawky,  rowin'  e'e, 
Sae  roguishly  it  blinks  on  me, 
I  canna,  for  my  saul,  let  be 

Frae  kissing  you  before  folk  ! 
Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk, 
When  ilka  glint  conveys  a  hint 
To  tak'  a  smack  before  folk? 

Ye  own  that,  were  we  baith  our  lane, 
Ye  wadna  grudge  to  grant  me  ane ; 
Weel,  gin  there  be  nae  harm  in't  then, 
What  harm  is  in't  before  folk  ? 
Can  I  behave,  can  I  behave, 
Can  I  behave  before  folk  ? 
Sly  hypocrite  !  an  anchorite 
Could  scarce  desist  before  folk  ! 

But  after  a'  that  has  been  said, 
Since  ye  are  willing  to  be  wed, 
We'll  ha'e  a  blythesome  bridal  made, 
When  ye'll  be  mine  before  folk. 
Then  I'll  behave,  then  I'll  behave, 
Then  I'll  behave  before  folk ; 
For  whereas  then  ye'll  aft  get  ten, 
It  winna  be  before  folk. 


JOHN    WILSON 

1785-1854 

THOUGH  a  native  of  Paisley,  and  associated  in  later  life  mostly  with 
that  Edinburgh  which  he  helped  so  much  to  glorify  as  the  Modem 
Athens,  Professor  Wilson  was  too  closely  associated  with  Glasgow  in 
his  most  impressionable  years  to  be  omitted  altogether  from  its  roll 
of  makers.  His  father  was  a  prosperous  gauze  manufacturer  in 
"St.  Mirrens,"  and  his  mother,  Margaret  Sym,  the  daughter  of  a 
wealthy  Glasgow  family.  After  an  early  education  at  the  manse 
of  Mearns,  he  entered  Glasgow  University  at  the  age  of  thirteen. 
There  he  was  known  chiefly  by  the  facility  with  which  he  scribbled 
verses,  and  the  ease  with  which  he  beat  all  competitors  at  the 
exhilarating  exercise  of  hop,  step,  and  jump.  There  also  he  received 
from  Professors  Young  and  Jardine  the  impulses  which  led  him  at  a 
later  day  to  adopt  a  life  of  letters.  Afterwards,  at  Magdalene  College, 
Oxford,  he  won  the  Newdigate  Prize  for  a  poem  of  fifty  lines,  and 
earned  distinction  in  all  athletic  sports.  At  the  age  of  twenty-three, 
by  the  death  of  his  father,  he  was  left  his  own  master,  and  purchased 
the  beautiful  estate  of  Elleray,  on  Lake  Windermere.  Five  years 
later  he  married  Miss  Jane  Penny,  daughter  of  a  wealthy  Liverpool 
merchant. 

Wordsworth,  Southey,  and  De  Quincey  lived  within  easy  reach, 
and  Coleridge  was  a  frequent  visitor  to  the  neighbourhood.  Among 
these  friends  young  Mr.  Wilson  of  Elleray,  with  his  fine  fortune, 
his  good  looks,  and  his  poetic  taste,  was  the  spoiled  favourite.  Again 
and  again  his  romantic  escapades  were  the  talk  of  the  little  circle. 
At  one  time  he  attached  himself  to  a  company  of  strolling  players, 
and  again  he  became  one  of  a  gipsy  company  which  visited  the 
district. 


i82        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

All  such  dilettante  trifling,  however,  was  brought  to  an  end  pre- 
sently by  the  sudden  loss  of  his  fortune.  That  loss  acted  upon 
him  like  a  plunge  into  cold  water  upon  one  light-headed  with  wine. 
It  sobered  and  steadied  him  ;  he  forgot  his  illusions,  and  found  his 
real  power.  Hitherto  he  had  been  an  amateur  in  poetry,  and  his 
elegy  on  the  death  of  James  Grahame,  his  "  Isle  of  Palms,"  and 
his  "City  of  the  Plague,"  remain  among  other  productions  to  attest 
his  fine,  if  somewhat  fanciful,  powers  in  that  direction.  But  now 
he  went  to  Edinburgh,  turned  to  prose,  and  produced  his  tales  and 
sketches— "Lights  and  Shadows  of  Scottish  Life,"  "The  Foresters," 
and  "The  Trials  of  Margaret  Lindsay."  He  was  called  to  the  Scottish 
Bar  in  1815,  but  seems  never  to  have  even  tried  to  succeed  in  the 
law  courts.  On  the  establishment  of  Blackwoocf  s  Magazine,  in  1817, 
he  became,  under  the  pseudonym  of  "  Christopher  North,"  its  most 
original,  constant,  and  charming  contributor.  From  his  pen  came 
the  greater  part  of  the  startling  "Chaldee  Manuscript,"  written  between 
nine  at  night  and  five  next  morning.  And,  greatest  and  most  enduring 
of  all,  to  him  were  owed  the  successive  papers  of  that  rich  original 
feast,  the  "  Noctes  Ambrosianse. "  It  is  one  of  the  chief  disabilities 
of  an  Englishman  that  he  cannot  enjoy  the  felicities  of  these  articles. 
The  original  of  all  modern  causeries,  they  have  never  been  equalled, 
never  even  approached,  for  any  of  the  qualities  which  make  a  causerie 
worth  reading. 

In  1820  Wilson  became  a  candidate  for  the  Chair  of  Moral 
Philosophy  in  Edinburgh  University.  He  had  the  support  of 
Sir  Walter  Scott,  but  was  bitterly  opposed  by  the  Whigs,  and  when, 
somewhat  to  his  own  surprise,  he  was  elected,  a  storm  was  looked 
for.  At  his  opening  lecture  a  crowd  assembled  to  howl  him  down. 
An  eye-witness  has  described  the  scene — "The  lecture  room  was 
crowded  to  the  ceiling.  Such  a  collection  of  hard-browed,  scowling 
Scotsmen,  muttering  over  their  knobsticks,  I  never  saw.  The  professor 
entered  with  a  bold  step,  amid  profound  silence.  Every  one  expected 
some  deprecatory  or  propitiatory  introduction  of  himself  or  his  subject, 
upon  which  the  mass  was  to  decide  against  him,  reason  or  no  reason. 
But  he  began  in  a  voice  of  thunder  right  into  the  matter  of  his  lectures, 
kept  up  unflinchingly  and  unhesitatingly,  without  a  pause,  a  flow  of 
rhetoric  such  as  his  predecessors  never  delivered  in  the  same  place. 
Not  a  word,  not  a  murmur,  escaped  his  conquered  audience,  and  at 


JOHN    WILSON  183 

the  end  they  gave  him  a  right-down  unanimous  burst  of  applause." 
He  held  the  chair  for  thirty  years,  and  in  1851,  on  receiving  a  pension 
of  jC3°°  from  Government,  resigned  without  a  retiring  allowance. 

His  summers  were  spent  at  Elleray,  where  his  splendid  hospitality 
and  regattas  on  Windermere  won  him  the  title  of  "Admiral  of  the 
Lake."  In  Edinburgh  he  was  the  recognised  successor  of  Sir  Walter 
Scott.  For  a  generation  his  stalwart  form  and  magnificent  leonine  head 
made  the  most  noted  figure  in  the  assemblies  and  streets ;  and  when 
he  expired  there  in  1854  it  was  felt  that  the  last  of  the  godlike  race 
was  dead  in  Modern  Athens.  Thousands  followed  his  hearse  to  the 
Dean  Cemetery,  and  in  1865  his  statue  was  set  up,  not  far  from  Scott's, 
in  the  beautiful  Princes  Street  Gardens. 

His  complete  works  were  edited  by  his  son-in-law,  Professor  Ferric, 
after  his  death,  and  a  memoir  by  his  daughter,  Mrs.  Gordon,  appeared 
in  1862. 


THE  EVENING  CLOUD 

A  cloud  lay  cradled  near  the  setting  sun, 

A  gleam  of  crimson  tinged  its  braided  snow ; 
Long  had  I  watched  the  glory  moving  on 

O'er  the  still  radiance  of  the  lake  below. 

Tranquil  its  spirit  seemed,  and  floated  slow  : 
Even  in  its  very  motion  there  was  rest ; 

While  every  breath  of  eve  that  chanced  to  blow, 
Wafted  the  traveller  to  the  beauteous  west. 
Emblem,  methought,  of  the  departed  soul, 

To  whose  white  robe  the  gleam  of  bliss  is  given, 
And  by  the  breath  of  mercy  made  to  roll 

Right  onwards  to  the  golden  gates  of  heaven, 
Where  to  the  eye  of  faith  it  peaceful  lies, 
And  tells  to  man  his  glorious  destinies. 


1 84        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


TO  A  WILD  DEER 

Magnificent  creature  !  so  stately  and  bright ! 

In  the  pride  of  thy  spirit  pursuing  thy  flight. 

For  what  hath  the  child  of  the  desert  to  dread, 

Wafting  up  his  own  mountains  that  far-beaming  head, 

Or  borne  like  a  whirlwind  down  on  the  vale  ? 

Hail !  king  of  the  wild  and  the  beautiful ! — hail ! 

Hail !  idol  divine  !  whom  nature  hath  borne 

O'er  a  hundred  hilltops  since  the  mists  of  the  morn — 

Whom  the  pilgrim  lone  wand'ring  on  mountain  and  moor, 

As  the  vision  glides  by  him,  may  blameless  adore, 

For  the  joy  of  the  happy,  the  strength  of  the  free, 

Are  spread  in  a  garment  of  glory  o'er  thee. 

Up,  up  to  yon  cliff !  like  a  king  to  his  throne, 

O'er  the  black  silent  forest  piled  lofty  and  lone — 

A  throne  which  the  eagle  is  glad  to  resign 

Unto  footsteps  so  fleet  and  so  fearless  as  thine. 

There  the  bright  heather  springs  up  in  love  of  thy  breast ; 

Lo  !  the  clouds  in  the  depths  of  the  sky  are  at  rest, 

And  the  race  of  the  wild  winds  is  o'er  on  the  hill ! 

In  the  hush  of  the  mountains  ye  antlers  lie  still ! 

Though  your  branches  now  toss  in  the  storm  of  delight, 

Like  the  arms  of  the  pine  on  yon  shelterless  height, 

One  moment,  thou  bright  apparition,  delay, 

Then  melt  o'er  the  crags  like  the  sun  from  the  day. 

His  voyage  is  o'er  ! — as  if  struck  by  a  spell, 


JOHN    WILSON  185 

He  motionless  stands  in  the  brush  of  the  dell, 
Then  softly  and  slowly  sinks  down  on  his  breast, 
In  the  midst  of  his  pastime  enamoured  of  rest. 
A  stream  in  a  clear  pool  that  endeth  its  race — 
A  dancing  ray  chained  to  one  sunshiny  place — 
A  cloud  by  the  winds  to  calm  solitude  driven — 
A  hurricane  dead  in  the  silence  of  heaven, 
Fit  couch  of  repose  for  a  pilgrim  like  thee ; 

Magnificent  prison  enclosing  the  free  ! 
With  rock  wall  encircled,  with  precipice  crowned, 
Which,  awoke  by  the  sun,  thou  canst  clear  at  a  bound. 
'Mid  the  fern  and  the  heather  kind  nature  doth  keep 
One  bright  spot  of  green  for  her  favourite's  sleep ; 
And  close  to  that  covert,  as  clear  as  the  skies, 
When  their  blue  depths  are  cloudless,  a  little  lake  lies, 
Where  the  creature  at  rest  can  his  image  behold 
Looking  up  through  the  radiance  as  bright  and  as  bold. 

Yes,  fierce  looks  thy  nature,  even  hushed  in  repose, 

In  the  depths  of  thy  desert  regardless  of  foes ; 

Thy  bold  antlers  call  on  the  hunter  afar, 

With  a  haughty  defiance,  to  come  to  the  war. 

No  outrage  is  war  to  a  creature  like  thee ; 

The  bugle-horn  fills  thy  wild  spirit  with  glee, 

As  thou  bearest  thy  neck  on  the  wings  of  the  wind, 

And  the  laggardly  gazehound  is  toiling  behind. 

In  the  beams  of  thy  forehead,  that  glitter  with  death — 

In  feet  that  draw  power  from  the  touch  of  the  heath — 

In  the  wide  raging  torrent  that  lends  thee  its  roar — 


1 86         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

In  the  cliff  that,  once  trod,  must  be  trodden  no  more 
Thy  trust  'mid  the  dangers  that  threaten  thy  reign. 

But  what  if  the  stag  on  the  mountain  be  slain  ? 
On  the  brink  of  the  rock,  lo !  he  standeth  at  bay, 
Like  a  victor  that  falls  at  the  close  of  the  day, 
While  hunter  and  hound  in  their  terror  retreat 
From  the  death  that  is  spurned  from  his  furious  feet, 
And  his  last  cry  of  anger  comes  back  from  the  skies 
As  nature's  fierce  son  in  the  wilderness  dies. 


ANDREW   CRAWFURD 

1786-1854 

COMPILER  of  an  "  Eik,"  consisting  of  three  large  MS.  volumes,  to 
Jamieson's  Scottish  Dictionary,  of  a  "Cairn  of  Lochwinnoch,  Renfrew- 
shire, and  West  of  Scotland  Matters,"  in  forty-six  large  quartos,  and  of 
a  collection  of  newspaper  cuttings  thirty  volumes  in  size,  Dr.  Andrew 
Crawfurd,  the  Johnshill  poet,  was,  during  the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  a  storehouse  of  information  on  things  Scottish  from  which  all 
the  men  of  letters  of  the  West  of  Scotland  were  fain  to  draw.  The 
fortnightly  "Attic  Stories,"  published  in  Glasgow  in  1817,  were  largely 
written  by  him.  Motherwell's  "Minstrelsy"  in  1827,  and  "  Paisley 
Magazine"  in  1828,  owed  many  of  their  best  contents  to  his  industry. 
He  had  a  hand  in  the  production  of  "The  Laird  of  Logan"  and 
"  Whistle-binkie,"  when  these  collections  were  being  put  together  in 
David  Robertson's  back  shop  in  Glassford  Street.  And  Ramsay's 
"  Tannahill "  and  "  Views  in  Renfrewshire,"  and  Paterson's  "  Sempills 
of  Beltrees,"  "  History  of  Ayrshire,"  "  Scottish  Journal,"  and  "  Edin- 
burgh Traditional  Magazine,"  all  owed  much  to  his  industrious  accumu- 
lations. 

It  is  pathetic  to  think  that  this  busy  toiler  in  the  antiquities  of  letters 
and  forgotten  alleys  of  folklore  was  a  speechless  invalid,  palsied  in  the 
whole  right  side,  crippled  by  want  of  a  leg,  and  forced  not  only  to 
write,  but  to  carry  on  all  his  collections,  by  means  of  his  left  hand 
alone.  Second  son  of  Andrew  Crawfurd,  portioner,  and  Jean  Adam,  a 
country  heiress,  he  was  born  at  Johnshill,  Lochwinnoch,  5th  November, 
1786.  His  father  wished  him  to  become  a  manufacturer,  and  he  began 
life  as  a  clerk  in  Paisley.  But  his  own  inclinations  were  of  another 
kind,  and  after  a  course  of  eight  years  at  Glasgow  University,  in  which 
he  distinguished  himself  by  carrying  off  many  college  honours,  he 


i88        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

obtained  the  diploma  of  the  Glasgow  Faculty  of  Physicians  and 
Surgeons  in  1818,  and  began  practice  as  a  medical  man  at  Rothesay. 
In  December  of  the  following  year,  however,  he  caught  typhus  fever, 
and  lay  long  on  the  edge  of  death.  When  he  did  unexpectedly  recover 
it  was  as  the  physical  wreck,  palsied,  cripple,  and  speechless,  already 
described.  With  a  stout  heart,  nevertheless,  he  set  himself  to  face  the 
future,  and  with  such  success  that  in  his  quiet  retirement  at  Johnshill  he 
built  up  a  unique  reputation  as  a  poet,  writer,  and  literary  antiquary. 
Though  he  could  not  speak,  he  was  fond  of  company,  and  by  means  of 
an  interjection,  a  shake  of  the  head,  or  an  occasional  laugh,  he 
managed  to  make  interesting  talk  among  others,  and  his  house  be- 
came a  favourite  resort.  He  died  at  Johnshill,  27th  December,  1854. 
An  account  of  his  life  is  contained  in  Alexander  G.  Murdoch's  "  Recent 
and  "Living  Scottish  Poets." 


CONSCIENCE 

Aye !  we  may  busk  wi'  rosy  wreath 

The  bitter  cup  o'  care, 
And  we  may  gar  the  drink  aneath 

To  skinkle  bricht  and  fair. 

And  we  may  busk  the  face  wi'  smiles 
To  hide  the  wounded  heart, 

And  fleech  on  mirth  wi'  flatterin'  wiles 
To  pu'  awa'  the  dart. 

And  we  may  jilt  the  soothfast  frien' 
That  snibs  us  when  we  sin, 

And  ilka  hour  in  daffin'  spen', 
To  droun  the  voice  within. 


ANDREW   CRAWFURD          189 

But  yet  the  flowers,  wi'  a'  their  pride, 

The  drink  they  canna  sweeten  ; 
And  yet  the  smirks,  they  canna  hide 

The  heart  wi'  canker  eaten. 

And  conscience,  though  we've  held  her  lang, 

Hushed  in  a  doverin'  sleep, 
Will  rise  belyve,  refreshed  and  strang, 

And  gar  us  ruefu'  weep. 


A  GLANCE  AYONT  THE  GRAVE 

My  boyhood  was  a  pleasant  dream, 
And  noo  I  wake  to  prove  it  sae ; 

My  youdith  bleezed  wi'  hope's  fair  gleam ; 
My  manhood  keps  the  thud  o'  wae. 

The  sunny  knowes  that  ance  were  dear, 

I  taigle  on,  aye  fain  to  view ; 
The  spunk  o'  life  that  lowe't  sae  clear, 

Is  crynit  to  an  aizle  noo. 

Is  life  a  dulesome  glamour  a'  ? 

The  weary  wraith  o'  daffin'  past  ? 
And  are  we  bound  by  feydom's  law 

To  lair  in  mirk  wanhope  at  last  ? 

Na  !  our  fate  speils  the  hin'most  breath, 
And  skinkles  like  the  star  of  even, 

And  lichts  the  eerie  glen  o'  death, 
And  airts  us  to  our  bield  in  Heaven, 


JOHN  DONALD  CARRICK 

1787-1837 

EDITOR  of  the  first  series  of  "  Whistle-binkie,"  and  projector  of 
"  The  Laird  of  Logan,"  one  of  the  most  amusing  and  famous  collections 
of  Scottish  humour,  John  Donald  Carrick  holds  an  assured  place  in  the 
literary  annals  of  Glasgow.  For  his  contribution  to  the  kindly  gaiety 
of  the  nation  indeed,  in  respect  of  these  two  creations  alone,  more  is 
owed  to  him  than  is  ever  likely  to  be  summed  up. 

Born  of  humble  parents  at  Glasgow  in  April,  1787,  he  had  but  a 
limited  education,  and  while  still  very  young  was  placed  in  the  office 
of  Mr.  Nicholson,  an  architect  of  some  note  in  the  city.  It  does  not 
appear  that  he  was  regularly  apprenticed,  and  the  uncertainty  of  his 
future  seems  to  have  determined  him  to  seek  fortune  in  a  wider  world. 
Of  the  four  youthful  Glasgow  poets,  Smollett,  Gray,  Buchanan,  and 
himself,  who  have  made  the  romantic  pilgrimage  to  London,  none  did 
it  in  more  hardy  and  independent  fashion  than  the  architect's  boy. 
The  four  hundred  miles  he  travelled  on  foot,  living  on  the  poorest  fare, 
and  sleeping  sometimes  in  roadside  taverns,  but  more  often  among 
the  harvest  sheaves  under  the  kindly  canopy  of  heaven.  At  Liverpool 
he  met  a  recruiting  party,  gay  with  ribbons,  and  martial  with  fife  and 
drum,  and  the  temptation  was  strong  to  enlist.  He  threw  up  his  stick, 
however,  and  as  it  fell  pointing  south,  he  continued  his  journey.  When 
he  did  reach  London  it  was  with  the  last  humble  half-crown  in  his 
pocket.  He  was  just  twenty  years  of  age,  had  left  home  without  con- 
sulting any  one,  and  had  nothing  but  his  own  efforts  to  fall  back  upon. 

His  ambition  at  that  time  was  not  towards  letters,  and  after  various 
essays  he  found  a  place  in  a  Staffordshire  pottery  warehouse.  In  1811 
he  returned  to  Glasgow  and  set  up  a  similar  business  on  his  own 
account,  which  he  carried  on  for  fourteen  years.  At  last,  however,  he 
became  involved  with  a  relative  in  the  foreign  trade,  and  saw  his  hopes 
destroyed.  He  next  tried  the  business  of  a  travelling  agent,  but  though 


JOHN    DONALD   CARRICK      191 

it  enabled  him  to  pick  up  many  amusing  traits  of  character  about  the 
country,  it  was  otherwise  unsuccessful,  and  he  finally  threw  up  mercan- 
tile attempts. 

Meanwhile,  in  1825,  Carrick,  who  had  been  studying  ancient  Scottish 
literature,  had  produced  a  "  Life  of  Sir  William  Wallace,"  which  was 
published  as  a  volume  of  "  Constable's  Miscellany,"  and  long  continued 
popular.  He  now  became  sub-editor  of  a  Glasgow  journal,  the  Scots 
Times,  and  on  the  appearance  of  Dr.  Strang's  paper,  The  Day,  in 
1832,  contributed  many  admirable  pieces  to  its  columns.  In  the  same 
year  he  edited  the  first  series  of  "  Whistle-binkie,"  to  which  he  con- 
tributed a  humorous  introduction  and  several  excellent  songs  and 
amusing  poetical  sketches.  In  1833  and  1834  respectively  he  became 
editor  of  the  Perth  Advertiser  and  the  Kilmarnock  Journal.  For  the 
latter  position  he  was  strongly  recommended  by  his  friend  William 
Motherwell,  who  at  the  same  time  declared  his  rooted  hostility  to  the 
Liberal  principles  of  both  Carrick  and  the  paper. 

Alas  !  on  each  of  these  journals  Carrick  was  subjected  to  the  annoy- 
ance of  supervision  by  a  committee,  which  within  a  year  in  each  case 
made  the  position  intolerable.  To  add  to  his  misery  he  had  been 
attacked  by  paralysis  of  the  mouth  and  by  tic  doloreux,  perhaps  the  most 
excruciating  of  human  ailments.  On  asking  leave  of  absence  from  his 
post  on  the  Kilmarnock  Journal  he  was  refused,  and  forced  to  resign. 
This,  nevertheless,  was  the  period  of  his  best  work,  and  in  June, 
1835,  the  first  edition  of  the  "Laird  of  Logan"  appeared.  A  sojourn 
at  Rothesay  so  far  revived  him  that  he  was  able  to  contribute  a  series 
of  papers  rich  in  Scottish  humour  and  traits — "Nights  at  Kilcomrie 
Castle  ;  or,  the  Days  of  Queen  Mary  " — to  the  Scottish  Magazine.  But 
his  ailment  again  gradually  overpowered  him,  and  he  died  I7th  August, 
1835.  A  sketch  of  his  life  was  prefixed  to  the  complete  edition  of 
"Whistle-binkie." 

Carrick's  forte  was  his  rich  humour  and  happy  vein  of  drollery.  He 
had  a  shrewd  knowledge  of  human  nature,  and  a  biting  but  not  unkindly 
knack  of  satire.  During  the  crisis  of  the  passing  of  the  Reform  Bill  he 
took  active  part,  and  his  "  New  Election  Song,"  otherwise  "  The  Laird 
of  Barloch,"  roared  through  the  streets  by  a  ballad  singer,  had  a  great 
effect  as  a  political  squib.  Dr.  Strang,  in  "Glasgow  and  its  Clubs," 
quotes  it  in  full.  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  no  publisher  has  yet  pro- 
duced a  collected  edition  of  Carrick's  works, 


192        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 


THE  HARP  AND  THE  HAGGIS 

At  that  tide  when  the  voice  of  the  turtle  is  dumb, 
And  Winter,  wi'  drap  at  his  nose,  doth  come, 
A  whistle  to  mak'  o'  the  castle  lum, 

To  sowf  his  music  sae  sairly,  O  ! 
And  the  roast  on  the  speat  is  sapless  and  sma', 
And  meat  is  scant  in  chamber  and  ha', 
And  the  knights  ha'e  ceased  their  merry  guffaw, 

For  lack  o'  their  warm  canary,  O  ! 

Then  the  Harp  and  the  Haggis  began  a  dispute, 
'Bout  whilk  o'  their  charms  were  in  highest  repute. 
The  Haggis  at  first  as  a  haddie  was  mute, 

And  the  Harp  went  on  wi'  her  vapourin',  O  ! 
And  lofty  and  loud  were  the  tones  she  assumed, 
And  boasted  how  ladies  and  knights  gaily  plumed, 
Through  rich  gilded  halls,  all  so  sweetly  perfumed, 

To  the  sound  o'  her  strings  went  a-caperin',  O  ! 

"  While  the  Haggis,"  she  said,  "  was  a  beggarly  slave, 

And  never  was  seen  'mang  the  fair  and  the  brave." 
"  Fuff,  fuff ! "  quo'  the  Haggis,  "thou  vile,  lying  knave, 

Come  tell  us  the  use  of  thy  twanging,  O  ! 
Can  it  fill  a  toom  wame  ?     Can  it  help  a  man's  pack  ? 
A  minstrel  when  out  may  come  in  for  his  snack, 
But  when  starving  at  hame  will  it  keep  him,  alack! 
Frae  trying  his  hand  at  the  hanging,  O  ?  " 


JOHN    DONALD   CARRICK      193 

The  twa  they  grew  wild  as  wud  could  be ; 

But  a  minstrel  boy  they  chanced  to  see, 

Wha  stood  listening  bye ;  and  to  settle  the  plea 

They  begged  he  would  try  his  endeavour,  O  ! 
For  the  twa  in  their  wrath  had  all  reason  forgot, 
And  stood  boiling  with  rage  just  like  peas  in  a  pot. 
But  a  haggis,  ye  ken,  aye  looks  best  when  it's  hot ; 

So  his  bowels  were  moved  in  its  favour,  O  ! 

"  Nocht  pleasures  the  lug  half  so  weel  as  a  tune, 
And  whare  hings  the  lug  wad  be  fed  wi'  a  spoon  ?  " 
The  Harp  in  a  triumph  cried,  "  Laddie,  weel  done ! " 

And  her  strings  wi'  delight  fell  a-tinkling,  O  ! 
"  The  Harp's  a  braw  thing,"  continued  the  youth, 
"  But  what  is  the  Harp  to  put  in  the  mouth  ? 
It  fills  na  the  wame,  it  slakes  na  the  drouth  ; 
At  least,  that  is  my  way  o'  thinking,  O  ! 

"  A  tune's  but  an  air,  but  a  haggis  is  meat ; 
And  wha  plays  the  tune  that  a  body  can  eat  ? 
When  a  haggis  is  seen  wi'  a  sheep's  head  and  feet, 

My  word,  she  has  gallant  attendance,  O  ! 
A  man  wi'  sic  fare  may  ne'er  pree  the  tangs, 
But  laugh  at  lank  hunger,  though  sharp  be  her  fangs ; 
But  the  bard  that  maun  live  by  the  wind  o'  his  sangs, 
Wae's  me,  has  a  puir  dependence,  O  ! 

11  How  often  we  hear,  wi'  the  tear  in  our  eye, 
How  the  puir  starving  minstrel,  exposed  to  the  sky, 
Lays  his  head  on  his  harp,  and  breathes  out  his  last  sigh, 

Without  e'er  a  friend  within  hearing,  O  ! 

o 


194        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

But  wha  ever  heard  of  a  minstrel  so  crost 
Lay  his  head  on  a  haggis  to  gie  up  the  ghost  ? 
O  never,  since  Time  took  his  scythe  frae  the  post, 
And  truntled  awa'  to  the  shearing,  O ! 

"  Now  I'll  settle  your  plea  in  the  crack  o'  a  whup. 
Gie  the  haggis  the  lead,  be't  to  dine  or  to  sup : 
Till  the  bags  are  weel  filled  there  can  no  drone  get  up, 

Is  a  saying  I  learned  from  my  mither,  O  ! 
When  the  feasting  is  ower,  let  the  harp  loudly  twang, 
And  soothe  ilka  lug  wi'  the  charms  o'  her  sang, 
And  the  wish  o'  my  heart  is,  wherever  ye  gang, 

Gude  grant  ye  may  be  thegither,  O  ! " 


WILLIAM  GLEN 

1789-1826 

ON  one  of  the  evenings  when  Queen  Victoria  was  entertained  at  Tay- 
mouth  Castle,  in  1842,  John  Wilson,  a  famous  Scottish  singer  of  the 
day,  was  engaged  to  perform.  The  list  of  his  songs  was  submitted 
beforehand  to  the  Queen,  and  in  place  of  one  which  he  proposed,  she 
asked  that  he  should  sing  "  Wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie."  That 
request  was  the  first  intimation  that  Jacobite  songs  would  no  longer  be 
taboo  at  Court.1 

Of  all  modern  Jacobite  lyrics  there  can  be  no  doubt  this  of  William 
Glen's  remains  the  most  popular.  So  constantly  is  it  sung  that  it  has 
completely  appropriated  the  tune  of  the  fine  old  Ayrshire  ballad, 
"Johnnie  Faa."  Indeed,  it  has  eclipsed  even  its  author's  other  work 
so  far  that  it  has  come  to  be  looked  on  generally  as  his  solitary  produc- 
tion. Far  from  remaining  so  sterile,  however,  Glen  was  one  of  the 
most  prolific  of  song  writers.  The  pity  is  that  more  care  was  not  taken 
to  preserve  his  work  to  the  world. 

The  poet's  life  was  unfortunate.  Opening  with  the  fairest  promise,  it 
was  darkened  early  by  one  disaster  after  another,  and  if  his  conduct 
showed  weakness  in  the  later  years  he  was  not  without  excuse.  Second 
son  of  a  considerable  West  India  merchant,  and  descended  of  a  family 
which  had  some  pride  in  its  past,  he  was  born  in  Queen  Street,  Glasgow, 
1 4th  November,  1789,  and  received  a  good  education  in  his  native  city. 
His  mother's  brother,  James  Burns,  was  Provost  of  Renfrew,  and  an 
enthusiast  for  the  old  historical  tales  of  Scotland.  With  him  the  future 
poet  spent  his  summers,  and  from  his  lips  heard  the  stories  of  "Wallace 
wight,"  the  royal  Stewarts,  and  "  Bonnie  Prince  Charlie,"  which  were 
to  give  their  own  turn  to  his  poetry.  The  first  outcome  of  this  influence 


JThe  incident  is  related  by  Alexander  Whitelaw,  editor   of  Messrs.    Blackie's 
Book  of  Scottish   Song." 


196        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

was  an  ardent  patriotism.  When  a  corps  of  Glasgow  Sharpshooters 
was  raised  in  1803,  Glen  joined  as  a  lieutenant;  and  he  afterwards 
became  an  enthusiastic  member  of  the  Renfrewshire  Yeomanry.  His 
father,  to  begin  with,  hoped  to  leave  him  independent  means,  but  a 
disastrous  fire  in  Trinidad  reduced  the  family  fortunes,  and  the  poet 
became  a  business  man.  In  this  career  he  prospered  highly  for  a  time. 
After  spending  several  years  in  the  West  Indies,  he  began  business  in 
Glasgow  on  his  own  account  as  a  manufacturer  and  trader  with  these 
colonies,  and  in  1814  was  elected  a  manager  of  the  Merchants'  House 
and  a  director  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce. 

At  that  date  he  made  some  figure  in  the  life  of  the  city.  He  was  a 
member  of  the  Coul  Club  and  the  Anderston  Social  Club,  and  at  their 
weekly  meetings  produced  many  effusions,  which  were  duly  inscribed  in 
the  minutes.  One  of  these,  given  on  the  i8th  of  April,  1814,  after  the 
abdication  of  Napoleon,  was  sung  by  Adam  Grant,  and  is  printed  in 
"Glasgow  and  its  Clubs";  and  an  earlier  piece,  "The  Battle  of 
Vittoria,"  was  long  popular  in  that  exciting  time.  On  being  first  sung 
at  the  Glasgow  theatre,  the  latter  was  received  with  wild  applause,  and 
it  was  called  for  nightly  during  the  season. 

But  the  crisis  which  overtook  the  country  at  the  end  of  the  Napoleonic 
wars  proved  disastrous,  among  many  others  in  Glasgow,  to  the  young 
merchant-poet.  After  Waterloo  the  Anderston  Social  Club,  deprived 
of  the  patriotic  motive  which  had  been  its  chief  reason  for  existence, 
presently  ceased  to  meet,  and  its  laureate,  subjected  to  heavy  business 
losses,  found  himself  ruined.  A  broken  man,  enjoying  indifferent 
health,  he  did  not  enter  commercial  life  again.  Instead,  he  turned 
for  occupation  to  the  publication  of  his  collected  compositions.  "Poems 
Chiefly  Lyrical"  appeared  in  1815,  "The  Lonely  Isle,  a  South  Sea 
Island  Tale,"  in  1816,  and  "The  Star  of  Brunswick,"  on  the  death  of 
the  Princess  Charlotte  of  Wales,  in  1818.  In  1818,  also,  he  married 
Catherine  Macfarlane,  daughter  of  a  Glasgow  merchant  who  rented  a 
farm  at  Port  of  Menteith.  His  means  of  livelihood  was  a  moderate 
allowance  made  him  by  his  father  and  by  an  uncle  in  Russia,  with  such 
slight  additions  as  he  could  compass  by  his  pen.  "  In  his  latter  days," 
says  Dr.  Strang,  "he  took  severely  to  the  bottle.  He  was  extremely 
ready  in  his  poetical  compositions,  and  would  throw  off  a  number  of 
verses  in  the  course  of  a  night,  and  sell  them  to  a  bookseller  for  a  few 
shillings,  to  be  printed  as  a  broadsheet." 


WILLIAM    GLEN  197 

At  last  his  wife  induced  him  to  retire  to  her  childhood's  district. 
There,  at  Rainagour,  near  Aberfoyle,  on  the  banks  of  the  lovely  Loch 
Ard,  he  composed  many  of  his  sweetest  songs,  and  there  in  the  end  it 
seemed  that  he  was  to  die.  A  few  weeks  before  that  end,  however, 
he  said  to  his  wife,  "  Kate,  I  would  like  to  go  back  to  Glasgow." 
"Why,  Willie,"  she  asked,  "are  ye  no  as  well  here?"  "It's  no 
myself  I'm  thinking  about,"  he  answered.  "  It's  of  you,  Kate,  for  I 
know  well  it's  easier  to  take  a  living  man  there  than  a  dead  one." 
"So,"  says  the  writer  who  narrates  the  incident,1  "the  sorrowful 
woman  with  her  dying  husband  departed  from  the  place,  and  the  warm 
Highland  hearts  missed  and  mourned  for  him,  forgetting  his  faults, 
and  remembering  only  his  virtues."  He  died  in  Gorbals,  Glasgow, 
of  consumption,  and  was  buried  in  the  Ramshorn  Churchyard,  in 
December,  1826. 

Besides  the  pieces  included  in  his  own  volumes,  Glen  was  author  of 
much  occasional  poetry.  Several  of  his  lyrics,  as  already  remarked, 
were  inscribed  in  the  minutes  of  the  Anderston  Social  Club.  And 
later  in  his  short  life,  while  living  at  Aberfoyle,  he  contributed  a 
number  of  pieces  to  the  Literary  Reporter,  a  Glasgow  miscellany 
published  in  1823.  There  is  reason  to  believe,  however,  that  he  left 
a  considerable  mass  of  unpublished  manuscript.  Dr.  Charles  Rogers, 
in  his  "Century  of  Scottish  Life,"  says,  "In  a  solitary  nook  at 
Aberfoyle  resided,  a  few  years  ago,  two  females,  where  they  were 
discovered  by  a  clerical  friend,  who,  at  my  request,  obligingly  sought 
them  out.  These  were  the  widow  and  daughter  of  William  Glen. 
.  .  .  Glen  was  unfortunate  in  business,  and  the  depressed  condition 
of  his  affairs  led  to  the  dispersion  of  his  MSS.,  and  nearly  bereft  him 
of  posthumous  fame.  "2  When  this  was  written  one  of  the  poet's 
manuscript  volumes,  inscribed  Volume  Third,  was  in  the  hands  of 
Gabriel  Neil,  the  editor  of  Zachary  Boyd,  and  from  it  Rogers  printed 


1  J.  G.  Wilson,  editor  of  "  Poets  and  Poetry  of  Scotland,"  whose  father  had  been 
a  personal  acquaintance  of  Glen. 

2  The  clerical  friend  here  mentioned  was  probably  the  late  Dean  Stanley.      At 
his  instance  a  cottage  home  was  built  at  Craigmuck,  near  Aberfoyle,  and  placed 
in  charge  of  Mrs.  Glen  and  her  daughter.     There  for  many  years  they  tended  a 
houseful  of  poor  children  from  Glasgow.     For  this  and  several  other  facts  the  editor 
is  indebted  to  William  Anderson,  Esq.,  F.S.A.Scot.,  himself  a  distant  relative  of 
Mrs.  Glen,  and  an  enthusiastic  collector  of  the  poetic  ana  of  Scotland. 


198        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

some  pieces  in  his  "Modern  Scottish  Minstrel."  Rogers  also  published 
at  Edinburgh  in  1874  a  collection  of  Glen's  poems,  with  a  portrait  and 
memoir.  In  the  memoir  he  gave  a  history  of  the  family  of  Glen  from 
the  days  of  Bruce,  and  derived  the  name  from  The  Glen  in  Peebles- 
shire,  once  their  property.  But  the  pieces  included  had  nearly  all 
appeared  already  in  the  poet's  own  volumes.  The  manuscripts  in  the 
hands  of  Gabriel  Neil  remained  for  the  most  part  unpublished,  and 
after  the  antiquary's  death  in  1862  his  MS.  volume  seems  to  have  gone 
amissing.  Another  has  come  into  the  knowledge  of  the  present  writer. 
When  the  collection  of  the  late  Alexander  Macdonald,  who  was  a 
native  of  Gartmore,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Aberfoyle,  was  sold  in 
1897,  this  volume  was  acquired  by  Mr.  D.  Simpson,  23  Dunmore  Street, 
South  Side.  It  contains  forty- three  pieces,  only  two  or  three  of  which 
seem,  to  have  been  printed  before,  in  Dr.  Rogers'  collected  edition  and 
in  Glen's  own  volume  of  1815.  Many  of  the  poems  deal  with  the 
district  of  Aberfoyle  and  Menteith,  and  from  internal  evidence  there 
can  be  little  doubt  that  all  of  them  are  the  work  of  William  Glen. 
Probably  it  is  one  of  the  series  of  which  Gabriel  Neil's  book 
was  "Volume  Third."  Two  of  the  pieces  included  below — "The 
Highland  Maid"  and  the  verses  "To  the  Memory  of  John  Graham 
of  Claverhouse " — are  taken  from  this  volume  by  kind  permission  of 
Mr.  Simpson. 


WAR'S  ME  FOR  PRINCE  CHARLIE 

A  wee  bird  cam'  to  our  ha'  door, 

He  warbled  sweet  and  clearly, 
And  aye  the  o'ercome  o'  his  sang 

Was  "  Wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  !  " 
Oh !  when  I  heard  the  bonnie  soun' 

The  tears  cam'  happin'  rarely ; 
I  took  my  bannet  aff  my  head, 

For  weel  I  lo'ed  Prince  Charlie ! 


WILLIAM    GLEN  199 

Quoth  I,  "My  bird,  my  bonnie,  bonnie  bird, 

Is  that  a  sang  ye  borrow  ? 
Are  these  some  words  ye've  learnt  by  heart, 

Or  a  lilt  o'  dule  and  sorrow  ?  " 
"  Oh  !  no,  no,  no,"  the  wee  bird  sang  ; 
"  I've  flown  sin'  mornin'  early, 
But  sic  a  day  o'  wind  and  rain — 
Oh  !  wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  ! 

"  On  hills  that  are  by  right  his  ain 

He  roves  a  lanely  stranger ; 
On  every  side  he's  pressed  by  want, 

On  every  side  is  danger. 
Yestreen  I  met  him  in  a  glen  ; 

My  heart  'maist  burstit  fairly, 
For  sadly  changed  indeed  was  he — 

Oh  !  wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  ! 

"  Dark  night  cam'  on,  the  tempest  roared 

Loud  o'er  the  hills  and  valleys, 
And  whare  was't  that  your  Prince  lay  down, 

Whase  hame  should  been  a  palace  ? 
He  rowed  him  in  a  Highland  plaid, 

Which  covered  him  but  sparely, 
And  slept  beneath  a  bush  o'  broom — 

Oh !  wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  ! " 

But  now  the  bird  saw  some  red  coats, 
And  he  shook  his  wings  wi'  anger : 
"  Oh  !  this  is  no  a  land  for  me, 
I'll  tarry  here  nae  langer  !  " 


200        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

He  hovered  on  the  wing  a  while, 

Ere  he  departed  fairly, 
But  weel  I  mind  the  farewell  strain 

Was  "  Wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  !" 


THE  HIGHLAND  MAID 

Whan  summer's  sun,  wi'  lovely  smile 
Adorned  the  bents  o'  Aberfoyle, 
And  roses  sweet  began  to  blaw 
On  Castle  Duchray's  ruined  wa', 
'Twas  then,  on  Daliel's  lovely  glade 
I  met  my  bonnie  Highland  Maid. 

Let  nobles  in  the  gorgeous  ha' 

Woo  ladies  decked  in  jewels  braw ; 

But  unto  me  alone  be  given 

The  heath  couch  'neath  the  summer  heaven, 

Close  to  a  burn  and  hazel  shade 

And  in  my  arms  my  Highland  Maid. 

Then,  then  let  wealth  tak'  wings  and  flee ! 

It  ne'er  shall  draw  ae  sigh  frae  me. 

Could  I  repine,  or  wish  for  more, 

Blest  wi'  the  lassie  I  adore, 

In  native  innocence  arrayed— 

My  bonnie,  blooming  Highland  Maid  ? 


WILLIAM    GLEN  201 

Oh  !  ne'er  will  I  that  day  forget 
When  on  fair  Duchray's  banks  we  met, 
When  lone  Daliel's  romantic  groves 
Heard  the  warm  whisper  of  our  loves ; 
While  the  unconscious  sigh  betrayed 
The  love  throes  of  my  Highland  Maid. 

Shackled  wi'  poortith's  iron  bands, 
I  soon  may  visit  distant  lands, 
But  even  in  the  arms  o'  death 
I'll  muse  upon  the  Land  o'  Heath, 
An'  far  frae  love's  woe-soothing  aid, 
I'll  weep  for  my  sweet  Highland  Maid. 


TO  THE  MEMORY  OF 

JOHN  GRAHAM  OF  CLAVERHOUSE, 

LORD  VISCOUNT  DUNDEE 

He  died  not  in  bed,  in  the  hour  of  age, 

Hand  feeble  and  tresses  hoary, 
No  !  Dundee  closed  his  warlike  pilgrimage 

In  the  hour  of  meridian  glory. 
No  churchman  came  nigh  to  teach  him  to  die, 

To  point  out  the  way,  calm  and  coldly ; 
But  the  victory  note  from  the  trumpet  throat, 

Sounded  his  requiem  boldly. 


202         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

Killiecrankie's  wild  pass  saw  the  hero  fall, 

'Mid  the  drum-beat  and  musket  rattle ; 
'Twas  enough  the  stoutest  heart  to  appal, 

The  shock  of  that  furious  battle. 
He  died  on  the  field  as  a  soldier  should  die, 

Where  the  proudest  of  laurel  wreaths  crowned  him, 
And  instead  of  the  mass,  he  was  cheered  with  the  cry 

Of  victory  shouting  around  him. 

Let  Bigotry  sleep — his  arm  pulled  it  down  : 

The  Gordian  knot  he  did  sever  ;x 
He  fought  for  his  prince,  he  defended  the  crown, 

And  patriots  will  bless  him  for  ever. 
Not  a  wavering  doubt  nor  a  shade  of  fear 

Can  be  traced  through  a  page  of  his  story ; 
No  !  noble  Dundee  closed  his  gallant  career 

In  the  fulness  of  mortal  glory. 


1  It  is  difficult  to  understand  the  allusion  here,  if  it  refers  to  anything 
accomplished  by  the  battle  of  Killiecrankie,  in  which  Dundee  fell. 


JOHN    BRECKENRIDGE 

1790-1840 

ALL  the  available  information  regarding  the  life  of  the  author  of  "  The 
Humours  o'  Gleska  Fair  "  is  owed  to  the  late  Alexander  G.  Murdoch, 
who  had  an  opportunity  of  procuring  facts  from  surviving  friends  of  the 
poet,  and  has  preserved  them  in  his  valuable  work,  "Recent  and 
Living  Scottish  Poets."  John  Breckenridge  was  born  at  Parkhead,  and 
bred  to  the  trade  of  a  handloom  weaver,  but,  joining  the  Lanarkshire 
militia,  served  a  term  of  five  years  in  Ireland.  On  his  return  he 
married,  succeeded  his  mother  in  a  small  grocery  business  in  his  native 
place,  and  settled  down  to  the  life  of  a  decent  citizen.  He  was  an 
excellent  weaver,  could  write  "  like  copperplate,"  made  famous  rhymes, 
and  fiddles  whose  reputation  brought  high  prices  from  London.  Yet  he 
neither  wished  riches  for  himself  nor  fame  for  his  poetry,  and  when  his 
end  approached  he  made  his  wife  bring  the  drawer  in  which  his  papers 
were  kept,  and  throw  them  all  into  the  fire.  His  "  Gleska  Fair  "  only 
escaped  by  an  accident.  A  copy  of  the  piece  had  come  into  possession 
of  Livingstone,  the  Scottish  vocalist,  and  he  sang  it  into  public 
knowledge.  Only  a  few  other  scattered  verses  survive,  but  this  poem, 
following  the  same  vein  as  Mayne's  "Siller  Gun,"  and  James  V.'s 
"  Christ's  Kirk  on  the  Green,"  gives  Breckenridge  a  title  to  remem- 
brance. It  is  certainly  not  the  finest  vein  of  poetry,  but  it  has  all 
the  merit  and  more  than  the  humour  of  a  Dutch  picture,  and  in  this 
case  the  manners  of  the  people  are  pourtrayed  by  one  of  the  people 
themselves. 

The  poet  is  described  as  "  small  in  stature  and  rotund  in  form,  with  a 
blythe  expression  of  countenance,  dark  bright  eyes,  and  a  brow  so 
ample  that  he  was  nick-named  'brooie'  when  a  boy."  He  was  "deil- 
fond  o'  fun,  and  whiles  sae  fu'  o'  mischief  that  there  was  nae  fen 'in'  \vi' 
him  "  ;  and  on  his  deathbed  he  told  his  wife  she  "  wasna  to  be  sair  on 
the  folks  that  were  awn  (owing)  them,  as  she  would  maybe  manage  to 
fen'  in  a  decent  way  without  it."  He  died  of  a  lingering  internal 
disease. 


204         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 


THE    HUMOURS    O'   GLESKA    FAIR 

The  sun  frae  the  eastward  was  peeping, 

And  braid  through  the  winnocks  did  stare, 
When  Willie  cried,  "  Tarn,  are  ye  sleeping  ? 

Mak'  haste,  man,  and  rise  to  the  Fair ! 
For  the  lads  and  the  lasses  are  thranging, 

And  a'  body's  now  in  a  steer, 
Fye,  haste  ye,  and  let  us  be  ganging, 

Or,  faith,  we'll  be  langsome,  I  fear." 

Then  Tarn  he  got  up  in  a  hurry, 

And  wow  but  he  made  himsel'  snod, 
And  a  pint  o'  milk  brose  he  did  worry, 

To  mak'  him  mair  teugh  for  the  road. 
On  his  head  his  blue  bannet  he  slippit, 

His  whip  o'er  his  shouther  he  flang, 
And  a  clumsy  oak  cudgel  he  grippit, 

On  purpose  the  loons  for  to  bang. 

Now  Willock  had  trysted  wi'  Jenny, 

For  she  was  a  braw,  canty  quean ; 
Word  gaed  that  she  had  a  gey  penny, 

For  whilk  Willie  fondly  did  grien. 
Now  Tarn  he  was  blaming  the  liquor : 

Ae  night  he  had  got  himsel'  fu', 
And  trysted  glied  Maggie  Mac  Vicar, 

And  faith,  he  thocht  shame  for  to  rue. 


JOHN    BRECKENRIDGE         205 

The  carles,  fu'  cadgie,  sat  cocking 

Upon  their  white  nags  and  their  brown, 
Wi'  snuffing  and  laughing  and  joking 

They  soon  cantered  into  the  town. 
'Twas  there  was  the  funning  and  sporting ; 

Eh,  lord  !  what  a  swarm  o'  braw  folk — 
Rowly-powly,  wild  beasts,  wheels  o'  fortune, 

Sweetie  Stan's,  Maister  Punch,  and  Black  Jock. 

Now  Willock  and  Tarn,  geyan  bouzie, 

By  this  time  had  met  wi'  their  joes ; 
Consented  wi'  Gibbie  and  Susie 

To  gang  awa'  doun  to  the  shows. 
'Twas  there  was  the  fiddling  and  drumming ; 

Sic  a  crowd  they  could  scarcely  get  through — 
Fiddles,  trumpets,  and  organs  a-bumming ; 

O  sirs  !  what  a  hully-baloo. 

Then  hie  to  the  tents  at  the  paling, 

Weel  theekit  wi'  blankets  and  mats, 
And  deals  seated  round  like  a  tap-room, 

Supported  on  stanes  and  on  pats. 
The  whisky  like  water  they're  selling, 

And  porter  as  sma'  as  their  yill, 
And  aye  as  you're  pouring  they're  telling, 

"  Troth,  dear,  it's  just  sixpence  a  gill ! " 

Says  Meg,  "  See  yon  beast  wi'  the  claes  on't, 
Wi;  the  face  o't  as  black  as  the  soot  ! 

Preserve's  !  it  has  fingers  and  taes  on't— 
Eh,  sirs  !  it's  an  unco  like  brute  ! " 


206        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

"  O  woman,  but  ye  are  a  gomeral 
To  mak'  sic  a  won'er  at  that ! 
D'ye  na  ken,  ye  daft  gowk,  that's  a  mongrel 
That's  bred  'twixt  a  dog  and  a  cat. 

"  See  yon  souple  jaud,  how  she's  dancing, 

Wi'  the  white  ruffled  breeks  and  red  shoon  ! 
Frae  the  tap  to  the  tae  she's  a'  glancing 

Wi'  gowd,  and  a  feather  abune. 
My  troth,  she's  a  braw  decent  kimmer 

As  I  have  yet  seen  in  the  Fair ! " 
"  Her  decent !  "  quo'  Meg,  "  she's  a  limmer, 
Or,  faith,  she  would  never  be  there." 

Now  Gibbie  was  wanting  a  toothfu' ; 

Says  he,  "  I'm  right  tired  o'  the  fun  : 
D'ye  think  we'd  be  the  waur  o'  a  mouthfu' 

O'  gude  nappy  yill  and  a  bun  ?  " 
"  Wi'  a'  my  heart,"  Tarn  says,  "  I'm  willing— 

'Tis  best  for  to  water  the  corn  : 
By  jing,  I've  a  bonnie  white  shilling, 

And  a  saxpence  that  ne'er  saw  the  morn." 

Before  they  got  out  o'  the  bustle 

Poor  Tarn  got  his  fairing,  I  trow, 
For  a  stick  at  the  ginge'  breid  play'd  whistle, 

And  knockit  him  down  like  a  cow. 
Says  Tarn,  "  Wha  did  that?  deil  confound  him  ! 

Fair  play,  let  me  win  at  the  loon  ! " 
And  he  whirled  his  stick  round  and  round  him, 

And  swore  like  a  very  dragoon. 


JOHN    BRECKENRIDGE        207 

Then  next  for  a  house  they  gaed  glowring, 

Whare  they  might  get  wetting  their  mou'. 
Says  Meg,  "  Here's  a  house  keeps  a-pouring, 

Wi'  the  sign  o'  the  muckle  black  cow." 
"  A  cow ! "  quo'  Jenny,  "  ye  gawkie  ! 

Preserve's,  but  ye've  little  skill ! 
Ca'  ye  that  in  rale  earnest  a  hawkie  ? 

Look  again  and  ye'll  see  it's  a  bull." 

But  just  as  they  darkened  the  entry, 

Says  Willie,  "  We're  now  far  eneu' ; 
I  see  it's  a  house  for  the  gentry — 

Let's  gang  to  the  Sign  o'  the  Pleugh." 
"  Na,  faith,"  then  says  Gibbie,  "  we'se  raither 

Gae  dauner  to  auld  Luckie  Gunn's, 
For  there  I'm  to  meet  wi'  my  faither, 

And  auld  Uncle  John  o'  the  Whins." 

Now  they  a'  snug  in  Luckie's  had  landed, 

Twa  rounds  at  the  bicker  to  try ; 
The  whisky  and  yill  round  was  handed, 

And  baps  in  great  bourocks  did  lie. 
Blind  Alick,  the  fiddler,  was  trysted, 

And  he  was  to  handle  the  bow. 
On  a  big  barrel-heid  he  was  hoisted, 

To  keep  himsel'  out  o'  the  row. 

Ne'er  saw  ye  sic  din  and  guffawing ; 

Sic  hooching  and  dancing  was  there  ; 
Sic  rugging,  and  riving,  and  drawing, 

Was  ne'er  seen  before  in  a  Fair. 


208        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

For  Tarn,  he  wi'  Maggie  was  wheeling, 
And  he  gied  sic  a  terrible  jump, 

That  his  head  cam'  a  rap  on  the  ceiling, 
And  clyte  he  fell  doun  on  his  rump. 

Now  they  ate  and  they  drank  till  their  bellies 

Were  bent  like  the  head  o'  a  drum ; 
Syne  they  rase,  and  they  capered  like  fillies, 

Whene'er  that  the  fiddle  played  bum. 
Wi'  dancing  they  now  were  grown  weary, 

And  scarcely  were  able  to  stan', 
So  they  took  to  the  road  a'  fu'  cheerie 

As  day  was  beginning  to  dawn.1 


1  A  more  detailed  but  less  poetical  piece  with  similar  title, 
"  Humours  of  Glasgow  Fair,"  appeared  in  the  Glasgow  Literary 
Reporter  of  26th  July,  1823,  above  the  signature  "  Observateur " ; 
and  a  third  poem  on  "Glasgow  Fair"  is  said  to  have  been  written 
by  Alexander  Macalpine,  author  of  "The  Mail  Coach." 


THOMAS    LYLE 

1792-1859 

OF  all  the  songs  celebrating  natural  beauties  of  the  neighbourhood  of 
Glasgow,  "  Kelvin  Grove  "  justly  remains  the  most  popular.  Its  author, 
Dr.  Thomas  Lyle,  depends  almost  entirely  on  that  single  song  to  keep 
his  memory  green.  Moreover,  the  glory  of  having  written  it  was  the 
solitary  gleam  of  sunshine  in  a  somewhat  obscure  career.  It  is  curious 
to  think,  therefore,  that  by  an  ironic  turn  of  circumstance  Lyle  was 
nearly  deprived  of  the  honour  of  its  authorship.  Hugh  Macdonald,  in 
his  "  Rambles  Round  Glasgow,"  relates  the  episode.  "The  song,"  he 
says,  "was  first  published  in  1820  in  the  'Harp  of  Renfrewshire,'  a 
collection  of  poetical  pieces  to  which  an  introductory  essay  on  the 
poets  of  the  district  was  contributed  by  William  Motherwell.  In  the 
index  to  that  work  the  name  of  John  Sim  is  given  as  that  of  the  author 
of  '  Kelvin  Grove.'  Mr.  Sim,  who  had  contributed  largely  to  the 
work,  and  for  a  time  had  even  acted  as  its  editor,  left  Paisley  before  its 
completion  for  the  West  Indies,  where  he  shortly  afterwards  died.  In 
the  meantime  the  song  became  a  general  favourite,  when  Mr.  Lyle  laid 
claim  to  it  as  his  own  production,  and  brought  forward  evidence  of  the 
most  convincing  nature  (including  letters  from  Sim  himself)  to  that 
effect.  So  clearly,  indeed,  did  he  establish  the  fact  of  his  authorship 
that  a  musicseller  in  Edinburgh  who  had  previously  purchased  the  song 
from  the  executors  of  Mr.  Sim,  at  once  entered  into  a  new  arrange- 
ment with  him  for  the  copyright.  Mr.  Lyle,  it  seems,  was  in  the  habit 
of  corresponding  with  Mr.  Sim  on  literary  matters,  and  on  one 
occasion  sent  him  '  Kelvin  Grove '  with  another  song,  to  be  published 
anonymously  in  the  'Harp  of  Renfrewshire.'  In  the  meantime,  Mr. 
Sim,  who  had  transcribed  both  the  pieces,  was  called  abroad,  and  after  his 
death  his  executors,  finding  the  two  songs  among  his  papers  and  in  his 
handwriting,  naturally  concluded  that  they  were  productions  of  his  own 
genius,  and  published  them  accordingly."  It  is  little  wonder  that  to 
P 


210        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

his  last  day,  though  his  claim  as  author  had  been  fully  admitted,  Lyle 
should  still  allude  with  some  bitterness  to  the  turn  of  fate  which  had  all 
but  deprived  him  of  his  fame. 

Born  in  Paisley,  loth  September,  1792,  he  studied  at  Glasgow 
University,  and  took  his  diploma  as  a  surgeon  in  1816.  For  the  next 
ten  years  he  practised  in  Glasgow.  At  that  time  the  richly  wooded 
banks  of  the  Kelvin,  to  the  north-west  of  the  city,  still  remained  a 
most  romantic  and  sequestered  region,  and  the  Pear-tree  Well,  in 
particular,  at  the  part  known  as  North  Woodside,  was  a  favourite 
resort  of  lovers  and  other  ramblers  from  the  town  on  summer  afternoons. 
Lyle  was  in  the  habit  of  making  botanical  excursions  to  the  spot,  and 
his  song,  written  in  1819,  was  the  result. 

In  1826  he  removed  to  Airth,  near  Falkirk,  and  in  the  following 
year  published  a  volume  of  "Ancient  Ballads  and  Songs,  chiefly  from 
Tradition,  Manuscripts,  and  Scarce  Works  ;  with  Biographical  and 
Illustrative  Notices."  The  work  was  the  result  of  long  and  careful 
study.  It  contained,  among  others  of  Lyle's  own  poems,  his  song  of 
' '  Kelvin  Grove  "  with  some  alterations  and  an  additional  stanza.  And 
it  was  notable  for  its  publication  of  the  miscellaneous  poems  of  Mure  of 
Rowallan.  But  it  is  doubtful  if  the  work  did  its  author  any  practical 
good.  He  got  the  reputation  of  a  writer  of  poetry  and  gatherer  of 
rare  plants  rather  than  of  a  skilful  surgeon,  and  his  practice  was  of 
small  account.  In  1853  he  returned  to  Glasgow,  and  was  employed 
by  the  city  authorities  during  the  prevalence  of  Asiatic  cholera.  Two 
years  later  Grant  Wilson,  editor  of  "  The  Poets  and  Poetry  of  Scot- 
land," says  he  found  him  there  "living  in  obscurity  with  little  practice, 
and  apparently  as  much  forgotten  as  the  spot  celebrated  in  his  most 
popular  song."  In  "The  Old  Ludgings  of  Glasgow,"  1901,  occurs  a 
notice  : — "  One  of  the  houses  recently  cleared  away  on  the  west  side  of 
High  Street,  between  George  Street  corner  and  the  water-works,  was  the 
tenement  No.  283,  where  Dr.  Thomas  Lyle,  author  of  the  charming 
song,  '  Kelvin  Grove,'  was  said  to  have  resided  during  the  last  years  of 
his  life,  about  1856,  when  holding  the  office  of  District  Surgeon  to  the 
Barony  Parochial  Board.  His  drug  store  was  in  the  next  house  north- 
wards, now  part  of  the  water-works  yard."  He  died  in  Glasgow, 
I9th  April,  1859.  Rogers,  in  his  "Century  of  Scottish  Life,"  says  of 
that  event — "As  he  had  latterly  lived  in  obscurity  his  departure  was 
scarcely  noticed  in  the  newspapers." 


THOMAS    LYLE  211 

KELVIN   GROVE 

Let  us  haste  to  Kelvin  Grove,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
Through  its  mazes  let  us  rove,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

Where  the  rose  in  all  her  pride 

Paints  the  hollow  dingle  side, 
Where  the  midnight  fairies  glide,  bonnie  lassie,  O. 

Let  us  wander  by  the  mill,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
To  the  cove  beside  the  rill,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

Where  the  glens  rebound  the  call 

Of  the  roaring  waters'  fall 
Through  the  mountain's  rocky  hall,  bonnie  lassie,  O. 

O !  Kelvin  banks  are  fair,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
When  in  summer  we  are  there,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

There  the  May-pink's  crimson  plume, 

Throws  a  soft  but  sweet  perfume 
Round  the  yellow  banks  of  broom,  bonnie  lassie,  O. 

Though  I  dare  not  call  thee  mine,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
As  the  smile  of  fortune's  thine,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

Yet,  with  fortune  on  my  side, 

I  could  stay  thy  father's  pride, 
And  win  thee  for  my  bride,  bonnie  lassie,  O ! 

But  the  frowns  of  fortune  lower,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
On  thy  lover  at  this  hour,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

Ere  yon  golden  orb  of  day 

Wake  the  warblers  on  the  spray 
From  this  land  I  must  away,  bonnie  lassie,  O  ! 


212         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Then  farewell  to  Kelvin  Grove,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
And  adieu  to  all  I  love,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

To  the  river  winding  clear, 

To  the  fragrant  scented  breir, 
E'en  to  thee  of  all  most  dear,  bonnie  lassie,  O  ! 

When  upon  a  foreign  shore,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 
Should  I  fall  midst  battle's  roar,  bonnie  lassie,  O, 

Then,  Helen,  shouldst  thou  hear 

Of  thy  lover  on  his  bier, 
'  To  his  memory  shed  a  tear,  bonnie  lassie,  O  ! 


DUNOON 

See,  the  glow-worm  lits  her  fairy  lamp 

From  a  beam  of  the  rising  moon, 
On  the  heathy  shore,  at  evening  fall, 

'Twixt  Holy  Loch  and  dark  Dunoon. 
Her  fairy  lamp's  pale  silvery  glare, 

From  the  dew-clad  moorland  flower, 
Invites  my  wandering  footsteps  there 

At  the  lonely  twilight  hour. 

When  the  distant  beacon's  revolving  light 
Bids  my  lone  step  seek  the  shore, 

There  the  rush  of  the  flow-tide's  rippling  wave 
Meets  the  dash  of  the  fisher's  oar, 


THOMAS    LYLE  213 

And  the  dim-seen  steamboat's  hollow  sound, 

As  she  seaward  tracks  her  way. 
All  else  are  asleep  in  the  still,  calm  night, 

And  robed  in  the  misty  grey. 

When  the  glow-worm  lits  her  elfin  lamp, 

And  the  night-breeze  sweeps  the  hill, 
It's  sweet,  on  thy  rock-bound  shores,  Dunoon, 

To  wander  at  fancy's  will. 
Eliza  !  with  thee  in  this  solitude 

Life's  cares  would  pass  away, 
Like  the  fleecy  clouds  over  grey  Kilmun 

At  the  wake  of  early  day. 


JOHN    GIBSON    LOCKHART 

1794-1854 

WITH  one  exception,  the  "  Life  of  Sir  Walter  Scott "  remains  the  most 
famous  biography  in  the  English  language;  nevertheless  its  author, 
John  Gibson  Lockhart,  had  to  wait  forty-two  years  for  his  own 
biography  to  be  written.  Among  the  reasons  for  that  long  delay  the 
chief,  without  doubt,  arose  from  the  character  of  Lockhart  himself. 
Known  in  his  own  time,  from  the  sting  of  his  pen,  as  "  the  Scorpion," 
he  made  probably  at  least  as  many  enemies  as  well-wishers,  and  it  was 
only  after  the  lapse  of  years  that  an  audience  was  to  be  found  impartial 
enough  to  read  calmly  his  just  praise  and  blame.  Yet  there  can  be  no 
doubt  he  was  a  great  man,  one  of  the  literary  giants  of  those  days,  and 
in  each  of  his  characters,  as  poet,  novelist,  biographer,  or  Tory 
champion,  material  might  have  been  found  for  an  abundant  and 
striking  "Life." 

Descended  from  an  ancient  and  honourable  family,  the  Lockharts  of 
Lee,  near  Lanark,  hig  father,  Dr.  John  Lockhart,  was  for  nearly  fifty 
years  minister  of  Blackfriars  Church,  Glasgow,  and  was  noted  for  a 
strange  combination  of  wit  and  absence  of  mind.  The  poet  was 
Dr.  Lockhart's  second  son,  the  eldest  by  a  second  marriage,  and  his 
mother  was  a  daughter  of  Dr.  Gibson,  an  Edinburgh  minister.  He 
was  born  at  the  manse  of  Cambusnethan,  near  Glasgow,  I2th  June,  1794. 
At  Glasgow  University  he  was  a  distinguished  student,  and  among 
other  honours  earned  a  Snell  exhibition  which  carried  him  to  Baliol 
College,  Oxford.  There  again  he  distinguished  himself,  graduating  in 
his  eighteenth  year  with  first-class  honours.  He  intended  to  follow  the 
profession  of  law,  and  in  1816  was  called  to  the  Scottish  Bar  ;  but  here 
he  suddenly  found  his  career  checked — he  could  not  make  a  speech. 

What  seemed  a  misfortune  at  the  time  proved,  however,  the  happy 
directing  influence  of  his  life.  If  he  could  not  speak  he  could  write. 


JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART      215 

In  1817  Black-wood's  Magazine  was  established,  and  from  the  first  he 
was,  after  John  Wilson  himself,  the  most  brilliant  of  its  contributors. 
Two  years  later  his  first  book  appeared — "  Peter's  Letters  to  his 
Kinsfolk. "  This  was  a  series  of  sketches,  by  an  imaginary  Dr.  Morris, 
of  the  most  distinguished  literary  Scotsmen  of  the  time.  And  in  1820 
he  married  Sophia,  the  elder  daughter  of  Sir  Walter  Scott. 

By  his  own  merits,  no  less  than  by  his  connection  with  "  the  Great 
Unknown,"  Lockhart  was  now  one  of  the  foremost  of  the  northern 
men  of  letters.  At  Chiefswood,  a  cottage  near  Abbotsford,  where  he 
and  his  wife  took  up  their  summer  abode,  Scott,  escaping  from  the 
throng  of  guests  at  his  own  house,  wrote  many  a  chapter  of  the 
Waverley  novels,  and  Lockhart  himself  produced  in  rapid  succession 
his  striking  romances — "Valerius,"  perhaps  the  most  classical  tale  of 
Roman  life  and  manners  in  the  language,  "Adam  Blair,"  a  story  of 
strong  emotion  and  descriptive  power,  "  Reginald  Dalton,"  reminiscent 
of  the  author's  own  student  life  at  Oxford,  and  "  Matthew  Wald." 
Then,  in  1823,  appeared  his  spirited  translations  of  Spanish  ballads, 
"  to  which,"  said  Miss  Mitford,  "  the  art  of  the  modern  translator  has 
given  the  charm  of  the  vigorous  old  poets. "  And  these  were  closely 
followed  by  his  "Life  of  Robert  Burns"  and  "Life  of  Napoleon 
Bonaparte,"  both  of  which  remain  standard  works  to  the  present  day. 

At  the  same  time  Lockhart  had  continued  to  contribute  a  profusion 
of  articles,  learned,  eloquent,  and  witty,  if  too  often  biting  and  abusive, 
to  the  pages  of  Blackwood,  and  in  1825  he  was  appointed  editor  of  the 
great  Tory  organ,  the  Quarterly  Review.  On  leaving  for  London  to 
take  up  this  post  he  was  entertained  at  a  dinner  in  Edinburgh.  On 
that  occasion  he  tried  to  make  a  speech,  failed  as  signally  as  he  had 
done  in  the  law  courts,  but  atoned  for  his  infirmity  as  he  sat  down  by 
the  witty  remark,  "  Gentlemen,  you  know  that  if  I  could  speak  we 
should  not  have  been  here. "  He  remained  editor  of  the  Quarterly  for 
twenty-seven  years. 

Meanwhile,  on  the  death  of  Sir  Walter  Scott  in  1832,  Lockhart 
became  his  literary  executor,  and  fulfilled  that  great  task  by  publishing, 
six  years  later,  his  Life  of  the  great  romancer.  How  well  and  with 
what  jealous  care  and  skill  the  work  was  done  it  is  unnecessary  to  say 
here.  The  "Life  of  Scott"  remains  not  only  its  author's  greatest 
book,  but  a  model  of  biography  for  all  time. 

Before  this  task  was  finished   the  shadows  had   begun  to  fall  on 


216        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Lockhart's  own  life.  "Death,"  he  wrote,  in  the  final  volume,  "has 
laid  a  heavy  hand  upon  that  circle — as  happy  a  circle,  I  believe,  as  ever 
met.  Bright  eyes  now  closed  in  dust,  gay  voices  for  ever  silenced, 
seem  to  haunt  me  as  I  write."  His  wife,  that  favourite  daughter  of 
Sir  Walter,  of  whom  so  many  tender  and  charming  incidents  are  related 
in  the  Life,  was  dead. 

His  own  fate  was  to  be  strangely  like  that  of  his  great  father-in-law. 
Under  the  pressure  of  infirmity,  he  resigned  the  editorship  of  the 
Quarterly  in  1853,  and  spent  a  winter  in  Italy.  On  his  return,  how- 
ever, his  trouble  renewed  its  force,  and  after  residing  for  a  time  with 
his  elder  brother,  Mr.  Lockhart,  M.P.,  at  Milton  of  Lockhart,  in 
Lanarkshire,  he  went  to  Abbotsford  to  die.  There,  his  last  hours 
soothed  by  his  only  surviving  child,  Mrs.  Hope  Scott,  he  passed  away, 
25th  November,  1854.  He  lies  in  quiet,  amid  the  ruins  of  St.  Mary's 
Aisle,  at  Dryburgh  Abbey,  at  the  feet  of  Sir  Walter.  His  descendant 
is  the  owner  of  Abbotsford,  and  representative  of  the  line  of  Sir  Walter 
Scott  at  the  present  day.  The  Life  of  Lockhart,  by  Sir  Andrew 
Lang,  was  published  in  1896. 


CAPTAIN  PATON'S  LAMENT 

Touch  once  more  a  sober  measure, 

And  let  punch  and  tears  be  shed 
For  a  prince  of  good  old  fellows 

That,  alack-a-day  !  is  dead ; 
For  a  prince  of  worthy  fellows, 

And  a  pretty  man  also, 
That  has  left  the  Saltmarket 

In  sorrow,  grief,  and  woe. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 


JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART      217 

His  waistcoat,  coat,  and  breeches 

Were  all  cut  off  the  same  web, 
Of  a  beautiful  snuff-colour, 

Or  a  modest,  genty  drab. 
The  blue  stripe  in  his  stocking 

Round  his  neat  slim  leg  did  go, 
And  his  ruffles  of  the  cambric  fine, 

They  were  whiter  than  the  snow. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e  ! 


His  hair  was  curled  in  order, 

At  the  rising  of  the  sun, 
In  comely  rows  and  buckles  smart 

That  about  his  ears  did  run ; 
And,  before,  there  was  a  toupee 

That  some  inches  up  did  grow, 
And  behind  there  was  a  long  queue, 

That  did  o'er  his  shoulders  flow. 
Oh !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 

And  whenever  we  foregathered 

He  took  off  his  wee  "  three-cockit," 
And  he  proffered  you  his  snuff-box, 

Which  he  drew  from  his  side-pocket ; 
And  on  Burdett  or  Bonaparte 

He  would  make  a  remark  or  so ; 
And  then  along  the  plainstones 

Like  a  provost  he  would  go. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 


218         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

In  dirty  days  he  picked  well 

His  footsteps  with  his  rattan. 
Oh  !  you  ne'er  could  see  the  least  speck 

On  the  shoes  of  Captain  Paton. 
And  on  entering  the  coffee-room, 

About  two,  all  men  did  know 
They  would  see  him  with  his  Courier 

In  the  middle  of  the  row. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e  ! 

Now  and  then,  upon  a  Sunday, 

He  invited  me  to  dine 
On  a  herring  and  a  mutton  chop 

Which  his  maid  dressed  very  fine. 
There  was  also  a  little  Malmsey, 

And  a  bottle  of  Bordeaux, 
Which  between  me  and  the  Captain 

Passed  nimbly  to  and  fro. 
Oh !  I  ne'er  shall  take  pot-luck  with  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 

Or,  if  a  bowl  was  mentioned, 

The  Captain  he  would  ring, 
And  bid  Nelly  run  to  the  West  Port, 

And  a  stoup  of  water  bring. 
Then  would  he  mix  the  genuine  stuff 

As  they  made  it  long  ago, 
With  limes  that  on  his  property 

In  Trinidad  did  grow. 

Oh !  we  ne'er  shall  taste  the  like  of  Captain  Paton's  punch 
no  mo'e ! 


JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART      219 

And  then  all  the  time  he  would  discourse 

So  sensible  and  courteous  • 
Perhaps  talking  of  last  sermon 

He  had  heard  from  Dr.  Porteous ; 
Of  some  little  bit  of  scandal 

About  Mrs.  So-and-So, 
Which  he  scarce  could  credit,  having  heard 

The  con.  but  not  the  pro. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e  ! 


Or  when  the  candles  were  brought  forth, 

And  the  night  was  fairly  setting  in, 
He  would  tell  some  fine  old  stories 

About  Minden  field  or  Dettingen ; 
How  he  fought  with  a  French  major, 

And  despatched  him  at  a  blow, 
While  his  blood  ran  out  like  water 

On  the  soft  grass  below. 
Oh !  we  ne'er  shall  hear  the  like  from  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 

But  at  last  the  Captain  sickened, 

And  grew  worse  from  day  to  day ; 
And  all  missed  him  in  the  coffee-room, 

From  which  now  he  stayed  away. 
On  Sabbaths,  too,  the  Wynd  Kirk 

Made  a  melancholy  show, 
All  for  wanting  of  the  presence 

Of  our  venerable  beau. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e ! 


220        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

And,  in  spite  of  all  that  Cleghorn 

And  Corkindale  could  do, 
It  was  plain  from  twenty  symptoms 

That  death  was  in  his  view. 
So  the  Captain  made  his  test'ment, 

And  submitted  to  his  foe ; 
And  we  laid  him  by  the  Ramshorn  Kirk : 

'Tis  the  way  we  all  must  go. 
Oh  !  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e  ! 

Join  all  in  chorus,  jolly  boys  ! 

And  let  punch  and  tears  be  shed 
For  this  prince  of  good  old  fellows, 

That,  alack-a-day  !  is  dead ; 
For  this  prince  of  worthy  fellows, 

And  a  pretty  man  also, 
That  has  left  the  Saltmarket 

In  sorrow,  grief,  and  woe ! 
For  we  ne'er  shall  see  the  like  of  Captain  Paton  no  mo'e.1 


'This  "Lament,"  inimitable  for  its  hundred  quaint,  appropriate 
touches,  was  published  first  in  BlackwoocTs  Magazine  for  September, 
1819.  Its  subject,  Captain  Paton,  dressed  in  precise,  old-fashioned 
style,  stepping  along  with  his  cane  held  in  a  fencing  attitude  before 
him,  was  a  well-known  figure  on  the  plainstones  at  Glasgow  Cross 
when  Lockhart  was  a  boy  in  the  city.  A  full  description  of  him  is 
given,  with  a  characteristic  portrait,  by  "Senex"  in  "Glasgow  Past 
and  Present."  He  lived  for  many  years  with  two  maiden  sisters  in  a 
tenement  of  his  own,  opposite  the  old  Exchange,  and  died  in  1807. 


JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART      221 

BERNARDO   AND   ALPHONSO 

(From  the  Spanish) 

With  some  ten  of  his  chosen  men  Bernardo  hath  appeared, 
Before  them  all  in  the  palace  hall  the  lying  king  to  beard ; 
With  cap  in  hand  and  eye  on  ground  he  came  in  reverend 

guise, 
But  ever  and  anon  he  frowned,  and  flame  broke  from  his 

eyes. 

"A  curse  upon  thee ! "  cries  the  king,  "who  com'st  unbid 

to  me. 
But  what  from  traitors'  blood  should  spring  save  traitors 

like  to  thee  ? 
His  sire,  lords,  had  a  traitor's  heart;  perchance  our  champion 

brave 
May  think  it  were  a  pious  part  to  share  Don  Sancho's  grave." 

*c  Who  ever  told  this  tale,  the  king  hath  rashness  to  repeat," 
Cries  Bernard.     "  Here  my  gage  I  fling  before  THE  LIAR'S 

feet! 

No  treason  was  in  Sancho's  blood,  no  stain  in  mine  doth  lie. 
Below  the  throne,  what  knight  will  own  the  coward  calumny  ? 

"  The  blood  that  I  like  water  shed  when  Roland  did  advance, 
By  secret  traitors  hired  and  led  to  make  us  slaves  of  France — 
The  life  of  King  Alphonso,  I  saved  at  Roncesval — 
Your  words,  lord  king,  are  recompense  abundant  for  it  all, 


222        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

"Your  horse  was  down,  your  hope  was  flown,  I  saw  the 

falchion  shine 
That  soon  had  drunk  your  royal  blood  had  I  not  ventured 

mine. 

But  memory  soon  of  service  done  deserteth  the  ingrate, 
And  ye've  thanked  the  son  for  life  and  crown  by  the  father's 

bloody  fate. 

"  Ye  swore  upon  your  kingly  faith  to  set  Don  Sancho  free ; 
But,  curse  upon  your  paltering  breath!  the  light  he  ne'er 

did  see. 
He  died  in  dungeon  cold  and  dim,  by  Alphonso's  base 

decree, 
And  visage  blind  and  stiffened  limb  were  all  they  gave  to  me. 

"The  king  that  swerveth  from  his  word  hath  stained  his 

purple  black ; 

No  Spanish  lord  will  draw  the  sword  behind  a  liar's  back. 
But  noble  vengeance  shall  be  mine,  an  open  hate  I'll  show — 
The  king  hath  injured  Carpio's  line,  and  Bernard  is  his  foe." 

"  Seize — seize  him  !  "  loud  the  king  doth  scream — "  There 

are  a  thousand  here — 
Let  his  foul  blood  this  instant  stream  ! — What !  caitiffs,  do 

ye  fear  ? 
Seize — seize  the  traitor!"     But  not  one  to  move  a  finger 

dareth. 
Bernardo  standeth  by  the  throne,  and  calm  his  sword  he 

bareth. 


JOHN  GIBSON  LOCKHART     223 

He  drew  the  falchion  from  the  sheath,  and  held  it  up  on 

high, 
And  all  the  hall  was  still  as  death  : — Cries  Bernard,  "  Here 

am  I, 
And  here  is  the  sword  that  owns  no  lord  excepting  Heaven 

and  me : 
Fain  would  I  know  who  dares  its  point — king,  Conde,  or 

grandee ! " 

Then  to  his  mouth  the  horn  he  drew :  it  hung  beneath  his 

cloak. 
His  ten  true  men  the  signal  knew,  and  through  the  ring 

they  broke. 
With  helm  on  head  and  blade  in  hand  the  knights  the  circle 

brake, 
And  back  the  lordlings  'gan  to  stand,  and  the  false  king  to 

quake. 

"  Ha  !  Bernard,"  quoth  Alphonso,  "  what  means  this  warlike 

guise  ? 

Ye  know  full  well  I  jested ;  ye  know  your  worth  I  prize  ! " 
But  Bernard  turned  upon  his  heel,  and,  smiling,  passed 

away. 
Long  rued  Alphonso  and  his  realm  the  jesting  of  that  day. 


JANET  HAMILTON 

1795-1873 

"  ON  a  cold  February  morning  in  the  year  1809  we  started  on  foot 
early  for  Glasgow.  We  went  to  the  house  of  an  acquaintance  of  my 
husband,  and  told  him  we  had  come  to  be  married.  He  sent  his 
porter  to  the  Rev.  Dr.  Lockhart,  of  College  Church,  the  late  county 
M.P.'s  father,1  who  asked  if  we  had  any  one  to  witness  the  marriage. 
Our  answer  was  in  the  negative.  The  porter  and  Betty,  the  house- 
maid, were  called  in  to  witness — the  knot  was  tied  which  has  never  yet 
been  loosed.  I  never  saw  the  Doctor's  face,  and  I  can  pass  my  word 
he  never  saw  mine.  We  then  returned  to  the  friend's  house,  got  some 
refreshment,  took  the  road  home  again  on  foot,  arrived  after  dark,  got 
in  unperceived  by  any  of  my  girlish  companions,  had  a  cup  of  tea  with 
a  few  of  the  old  neighbours,  and  at  the  breakfast  table  next  morning 
we  took  stock  of  our  worldly  gear.  Our  humble  household  plenishing 
was  all  paid,  and  my  husband  had  a  Spanish  dollar,  and  on  that  and 
our  two  pair  of  hands  we  started,  and  though  many  battles  and  bustles 
have  had  to  be  encountered,  with  the  help  of  a  good  and  kind  God, 
we  have  always  been  able  to  keep  the  wolf  from  the  door." 

Such  is  the  characteristic  description,  written  by  herself,  of  the 
marriage  of  Janet  Hamilton,  "the  Langloan  poetess,"  one  of  those 
remarkable  women  in  humble  life  of  whom  Scotland  has  produced  so 
strong  a  crop.  The  poetess  was  born  at  Carshill  clachan,  in  the 
parish  of  Shotts,  I2th  October,  1795.  Her  maiden  name  was  Janet 
Thomson,  her  father  was  a  working  shoemaker,  and  on  her  mother's 
side  she  was  fifth  in  descent  from  John  Whitelaw,  executed  as  a 
Covenanter  in  1683.  While  she  was  still  a  child  her  parents  removed, 
first  to  Hamilton,  then  to  Langloan,  at  that  time  a  quiet  weaving  village, 


I  Father  also  of  J.  G.  Lockhart,  son-in-law  and  biographer  of  Sir  Walter  Scott, 


JANET   HAMILTON  225 

in  the  parish  of  Old  Monkland,  where  Janet  remained  during  the 
rest  of  her  long  life.  For  the  first  two  years  her  parents  wrought  as 
labourers  on  Drumpellier  home  farm,  and  the  seven-year-old  girl,  besides 
keeping  house,  spun  as  a  daily  task  two  hanks  of  sale  yarn.  When 
the  mother  gave  up  outdoor  labour  the  child  was  taught  tambouring, 
then  a  very  remunerative  employment,  and  so  from  her  earliest  years 
helped  the  household  store.  Her  father  also  began  shoemaking  on  his 
own  account,  and  presently  engaged  a  young  man  to  assist  him.  It 
was  to  this  young  man  that,  at  the  early  age  of  fourteen,  Janet  was 
married  in  the  manner  she  has  described.  She  had  ten  children  by 
him,  and  her  married  life  lasted  for  some  sixty  years. 

She  had  learned  to  read  when  a  child,  and  by  means  of  the  village 
library  had  devoured  such  works  as  the  Spectator •,  the  Rambler,  Rollin's 
"Ancient  History,"  Plutarch's  "Lives,"  and  Pitscottie's  "Scotland," 
besides  the  poems  of  Burns,  Fergusson,  and  Allan  Ramsay.  As  she 
nursed  her  children  she  kept  a  volume  by  her  in  a  hole  in  the  wall, 
and  in  this  way  read  Shakespeare,  Blackwood 's  Magazine,  and  many 
noted  authors.  Before  the  age  of  nineteen  she  had  produced  a  good 
deal  of  verse,  all  strictly  religious.  Then  the  cares  of  her  family 
intervened,  and  she  did  not  indite  a  line  till  about  the  age  of  fifty- 
four.  She  had  still  to  acquire  the  art  of  handwriting,  but  she  mastered 
the  difficulty,  inventing  a  peculiar  caligraphy  of  her  own,  and  began 
to  contribute  to  Cassells'  Working  Marfs  Friend. 

The  remaining  years  of  her  life  were  prolific  both  of  prose  and 
verse.  During  the  last  eighteen  of  them  she  was  blind  ;  but  her 
husband  and  her  daughter  Marion  read  to  her,  and  her  son  James  was 
her  amanuensis.  The  cause  of  temperance  at  home,  and  the  cause  of 
freedom  in  Poland,  Spain,  Italy,  and  Greece,  found  in  her  an  unfailing 
and  vigorous  advocate.  By  reason  of  these  interests,  no  less  than  of 
her  general  fame  as  a  poet,  she  was  visited  in  her  humble  "  but  and 
ben  "  by  many  people  of  note.  Among  them  was  a  son  of  Garibaldi, 
and  she  told  afterwards  with  pride  how  he  had  lifted  her  "  in  his 
great  strong  arms  "  from  her  seat  by  the  kitchen  fire  to  the  "  sanctum  " 
beyond.  The  poetess  was  never  more  than  twenty  miles  from  that 
humble  dwelling  "up  a  back  stair"  at  Langloan,  and  there  she  died, 
27th  October,  1873.  A  fountain  now  stands  as  a  memorial  opposite 
the  house  where  she  lived  and  thought  so  long. 

Her  earliest  volume  was  "  Poems  and  Songs,"  published  in  1863. 

Q 


226        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

It  was  followed  by  "  Poems  of  Purpose  and  Sketches  in  Prose"  in 
1865,  "Poems  and  Ballads"  in  1868,  and  "Poems,  Essays,  and 
Sketches  "  in  1870.  Her  son  edited  a  memorial  volume  of  her  poems 
and  prose  works  in  1880,  to  which  were  prefixed  introductions  by  the 
Rev.  George  Gilfillan  and  Dr.  Alexander  Wallace.  A  second  edition 
was  issued  in  1885.  An  appreciation  by  Professor  Veitch  appeared  in 
Good  Words  for  1884. 

Janet  Hamilton's  social  and  moral  essays,  and  sketches  of  peasant 
life  and  character,  all  bear  the  imprint  of  strong  sense  and  natural 
powers  of  observation,  while  her  temperance  essays  and  poems  remain 
among  the  most  realistic  and  vivid  of  the  pleadings  produced  in  the 
white  heat  of  that  famous  movement.  Her  descriptive  poems  are 
remarkable  for  their  faithful  pictures  of  the  wild  nature  that  she  loved, 
and  out  of  her  very  real  sympathy  with  the  struggling  lives  around  her 
she  wrought  the  true  tenderness  and  pathos  of  her  human  song. 

The  pieces  included  here  are  given  by  kind  permission  of  Messrs. 
James  MacLehose  &  Sons,  Glasgow. 


A    BALLAD   OF   MEMORIE 

Nae  mair,  alas !  nae  mair  I'll  see 

Young  mornin's  gowden  hair 
Spread  ower  the  lift — the  dawnin'  sheen 

O'  simmer  mornin'  fair  ! 
Nae  mair  the  heathery  knowe  I'll  speel, 

An'  see  the  sunbeams  glancin' 
Like  fire-flauchts  ower  the  loch's  lane  breast 

Ower  whilk  the  breeze  is  dancin'. 

Nae  mair  I'll  wan'er  ower  the  braes, 

Or  through  the  birken  shaw, 
An'  pu'  the  wild-weed  flowers  amang 

Thy  lanely  glens,  Roseha' ! 


JANET    HAMILTON  227 

How  white  the  haw,  how  red  the  rose, 

How  blue  the  hy'cinth  bell, 
Whare  fairy  thim'les  woo  the  bees 

In  Tenach's  breckan  dell ! 

Nae  mair,  when  hinnysuckle  hings 

Her  garlands  on  the  trees, 
An'  hinny  breath  o'  heather  bells 

Comes  glaffin'  on  the  breeze ; 
Nor  whan  the  burstin'  birken  buds, 

An'  sweetly  scented  breir, 
Gie  oot  their  sweets,  nae  power  they  ha'e 

My  dowie  heart  to  cheer. 

Nae  mair  I'll  hear  the  cushie-doo, 

Wi'  voice  o'  tender  wailin', 
Pour  oot  her  plaint ;  nor  laverock's  sang, 

Up  'mang  the  white  clouds  sailin'. 
The  lappin'  waves  that  kiss  the  shore, 

The  music  o'  the  streams, 
The  roarin'  o'  the  linn  nae  mair 

I'll  hear  but  in  my  dreams. 

Whan  a'  the  house  are  gane  to  sleep 

I  sit  my  leefu'  lane, 
An'  muse  till  fancy  streeks  her  wing, 

An'  I  am  young  again. 
Again  I  wan'er  through  the  wuds, 

Again  I  seem  to  sing 
Some  waefu'  auld-warld  ballant  strain, 

Till  a'  the  echoes  ring. 


228        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Again  the  snaw-white  houlet's  wing 

Outower  my  heid  is  flaffin', 
Whan  frae  her  nest  'mang  Calder  Craigs 

I  fley't  her  wi'  my  daffin' ; 
An',  keekin'  in  the  mavis'  nest, 

O'  naked  scuddies  fu', 
I  feed  wi'  moulins  out  my  pouch 

Ilk  gapin',  hungry  mou'. 

Again  I  wan'er  ower  the  lea, 

"  An'  pu'  the  gowans  fine  " ; 
Again  I  "  paidle  in  the  burn," 

But  oh  !  it's  lang  sinsyne  ! 
Again  your  faces  blythe  I  see, 

Your  gladsome  voices  hear — 
Frien's  o'  my  youth — a'  gane,  a'  gane  ! 

An'  I  sit  blinlins  here. 

The  star  o'  memory  lichts  the  past ; 

But  there's  a  licht  abune, 
To  cheer  the  darkness  o'  a  life 

That  maun  be  endit  sune. 
An'  aft  I  think  the  gowden  morn, 

The  purple  gloamin'  fa', 
Will  shine  as  bricht,  and  fa'  as  saft 

Whan  I  ha'e  gane  awa'. 


JANET    HAMILTON  229 

EFFIE— A    BALLAD 

She  was  wearin'  awa' !  she  was  wearin'  awa' ! 

Wi'  the  leaves  in  October  we  thocht  she  wad  fa' ; 

For  her  cheek  was  ower  red,  and  her  e'e  was  owre  bricht, 

Whare  the  saul  leukit  oot  like  an  angel  o'  licht. 

She  dwalt  in  the  muirlan's  amang  the  red  bells 
O'  the  sweet  hinny  heather  that  blooms  on  the  fells, 
Whare  the  peesweep  and  plover  are  aye  on  the  wing, 
An'  the  lilt  o'  the  laverock's  first  heard  in  the  spring. 

As  black  as  a  craw,  an'  as  saft  as  the  silk 
Were  the  lang  locks  that  fell  on  a  neck  like  the  milk ; 
She  was  lithesome  an'  lo'esome  as  lassie  micht  be, 
An'  saft  was  the  love-licht  that  danced  in  her  e'e. 

Puir  Effie  had  loved — a'  the  hopes  an'  the  fears, 
The  plagues  and  the  pleasures,  the  smiles  an'  the  tears 
O'  love  she  had  kenned ;  she  had  gane  through  them  a' 
For  fause  Jamie  Crichton — oh,  black  be  his  fa' ! 

The  auldest  o'  five,  when  a  lassie  o'  ten 
She  had  baith  the  house  an'  the  bairnies  to  fen'  • 
The  mither  had  gane  when  she  was  but  a  bairn, 
Sae  Effie  had  mony  sad  lessons  to  learn. 

At  hame  had  ye  seen  her  amang  the  young  chips, 
The  sweet  law  o'  kindness  was  aye  on  her  lips ; 
She  kaimed  oot  their  hair,  washed  their  wee  hackit  feet 
Wi'  sae  tenty  a  haun  that  a  bairn  wadna  greet. 


23o        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

She  was  to  her  faither  the  licht  o'  his  e'en ; 
He  said  she  wad  be  what  her  mither  had  been, 
A  fair  an'  sweet  sample  o'  true  womanhood, 
Sae  carefu'  an'  clever,  sae  bonnie  an'  gude. 

The  cot-house  it  stood  on  the  lip  o'  the  burn 
That  wimplet  an'  jinkit  wi'  mony  a  turn 
Roun'  the  fit  o'  the  heather-fringed  gowany  brae, 
Whare  the  ae  cow  was  tethered,  an'  bairnies  at  play. 

Sweet  Effte  was  just  in  the  midst  o'  her  teens 
Whan  she  gat  the  first  inkling  o'  what  wooing  means 
Frae  a  chiel  in  the  clachan,  wha  aften  was  seen 
Stealin'  up  the  burnside  to  the  cot-house  at  e'en. 

On  a  saft  simmer  gloamin'  I  saw  them  myseP 
On  the  bank  o'  the  burnie,  an'  weel  I  could  tell, 
By  the  hue  on  her  cheek,  an'  the  blink  o'  her  e'e, 
That  her  young  love  was  his,  an'  wad  evermair  be. 

Belyve  to  fair  Effie  cam'  wooers  galore, 

An'  mony  saft  tirlin's  at  e'en  on  the  door. 

She  smiled  on  them  a',  but  gied  welcome  to  nane — 

Her  first  love  an'  last  was  young  Jamie's  alane. 

An'  Jamie,  wha  ne'er  was  a  week  frae  her  side, 

Had  vowed  ere  a  towmond  to  mak'  her  his  bride ; 

Her  troth  she  had  gi'en  him  wi'  blushes  an  tears  : 

It  was  sweet — oh,  how  sweet !  though  whiles  she  had  fears. 


JANET    HAMILTON 

For  a  wee  birdie  sang,  as  roun3  her  it  flew, 
Sweet  lassie,  tak'  tent — he's  owre  sweet  to  be  true ; 
He's  oot  in  the  e'enin's  whan  ye  dinna  ken, 
An'  they  say  he's  been  seen  wi'  Kate  o'  the  Glen. 

But  Effie  wad  lauch,  an'  wad  say  to  hersel', 
"  What  lees  an'  what  clashes  thae  bodies  maun  tell ! 
For  my  Jamie  has  sworn  to  be  true  to  the  death, 
An'  nocht  noo  can  part  us  as  lang's  we  ha'e  breath." 

Ae  short  winter  Sabbath,  just  as  it  grew  mirk, 
The  faither  cam'  hame — he  had  been  at  the  kirk ; 
His  cheek  was  sae  white,  an'  his  look  was  sae  queer 
That  Effie  glowered  at  him  in  dreadour  an'  fear. 

Then  he  said  "  My  ain  Effie,  puir  mitherless  lass  ! 
Oh,  wha  wad  ha'e  thocht  this  wad  e'er  come  to  pass  ? 
Thy  Jamie  this  day  in  the  kirk  was  proclaimed, 
An'  Katie  Maclean  for  his  bride  they  ha'e  named. 

"  I  was  tauld  on  the  road  by  ane  that  maun  ken, 
Her  grannie  was  ance  the  gudewife  o'  the  Glen, 
An'  she  left  to  young  Katie  a  hantle  o'  gear  : 
It's  gear  Jamie  wants,  an'  there's  naething  o't  here." 

An'  what  said  puir  Effie  ?     She  stood  like  a  stane  ; 
But  faintin'  or  greetin'  or  cryin'  was  nane. 
Her  sweet  lips  they  quivered,  the  bluid  frae  her  cheek 
Flew  back  to  her  heart,  but  nae  word  could  she  speak. 


232         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  faither  sat  down,  laid  her  heid  on  his  breast : 
"  On  God  an'  her  faither  my  Effie  maun  rest ; 
They  ne'er  will  deceive  thee — thy  wrongs  are  richt  sair : 
Gin  Jamie  had  wed  thee  they  micht  ha'e  been  mair." 

Sune  Effie  gat  up,  gied  her  faither  some  meat, 
Put  the  bairnies  to  bed ;  yet  ne'er  could  she  greet. 
Her  young  heart  was  stricken — the  fountains  were  dry 
That  gush  frae  the  een  wi'  a  tearfu'  supply. 

That  nicht  at  the  reading  she  joined  in  the  psalm, 
Her  cheek  it  was  pale,  but  her  brow  it  was  calm  j 
An'  faither  he  prayed,  as  she  knelt  by  his  side, 
That  God  his  dear  lassie  wad  comfort  and  guide. 

The  winter  gaed  by,  an'  the  hale  summer  through 
She  toshed  up  the  house,  fed  and  milkit  the  cow  ; 
The  cauld  warld  had  nocht  that  she  cared  for  ava, 
Her  life  it  was  silently  meltin'  awa'. 

Oh  !  whare  noo  the  love-licht  that  sparkled  erewhile 
In  her  bonnie  black  e'e  ?  Oh,  whare  noo  the  smile 
That  dimpled  her  cheek  ?  They  were  gane  !  they  were 

gane! 
Yet  she  ne'er  shed  a  tear,  an'  ne'er  made  a  maen. 

An'  sae  she  was  wearin',  fast  wearin'  awa', 
Wi'  the  leaves  in  October  sweet  Effie  did  fa'. 
Her  mournin'  was  ended,  an  blissfu'  an'  bricht 
The  dear  lassie  dwells  wi'  the  angels  o'  licht. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL 

1797-1835 

AMONG  the  poets  who  have  drawn  inspiration  directly  from  the  old 
romantic  narrative  ballads  of  Scotland,  William  Motherwell  must  rank 
close  after  Sir  Walter  Scott  and  the  Ettrick  Shepherd.  His  poetry, 
with  that  of  Allan  Cunningham,  remains  the  latest  and  most  luscious 
fruit  of  the  great  romantic  movement  begun  half  a  century  earlier  by 
John  Home's  tragedy,  "Douglas,"  itself  founded  on  the  ballad  of 
"Gil  Morice."  Motherwell's  own  collection  of  the  ancient  ballads 
stands  among  the  best,  and  with  the  comprehensive  essay  on  the 
subject  by  which  it  is  prefaced  may  be  set  beside  the  "  Border 
Minstrelsy"  of  Scott  himself. 

The  house  still  stands  in  High  Street,  at  the  south  corner  of  College 
Street,  in  which  the  poet  was  born,  I3th  October,  1797.  He  was 
third  son  of  William  Motherwell,  an  ironmonger,  whose  ancestors 
had  been  owners  of  the  Muir  Mill  on  the  Carron  for  four  hundred 
years.1  His  mother,  Elizabeth  Barnett,  was  daughter  of  a  farmer  at 
Auchterarder,  who  left  her  the  sum  of  ^"2000.  Early  in  the  new 
century  the  family  removed  to  Edinburgh,  and  there  for  three  years 
Motherwell  attended  the  school  of  William  Lennie,  author  of  the  once- 
famous  "  Lennie's  Grammar."  At  that  school  he  met  Jeanie  Morrison, 
a  pretty  child  of  about  the  same  age  as  himself,  whom  he  has  made 
immortal  in  his  most  famous  poem.  The  object  of  his  regard,  the 


1  It  may  be  of  interest  to  note  that  Janet  Motherwell,  an  aunt  of  the  poet,  married 
Henry  Bannerman,  whose  daughter  became  the  wife  of  Sir  James  Campbell  of 
Stracathro,  and  mother  of  the  present  J.  A.  Campbell,  Esq.  of  Stracathro,  LL.D., 
M.P.,  and  of  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman,  leader  of  His  Majesty's  Opposition 
in  the  House  of  Commons.  For  this  and  several  other  details  the  present  writer  is 
indebted  to  Mr.  Frank  Miller,  Annan,  descendant  of  another  aunt  of  the  poet,  and 
himself  an  enthusiastic  and  painstaking  collector  of  Galloway  poetry. 


234         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

daughter  of  an  Alloa  brewer,  returned  home  at  the  end  of  the  session, 
wholly  unconscious  of  the  interest  she  had  excited.  She  never  met  her 
youthful  admirer  again,  married  John  Murdoch,  a  Glasgow  commission 
merchant,  in  1823,  and  not  till  several  years  after  MotherwelPs  song 
had  been  published  became  aware  that  she  was  its  heroine.  But  the 
poetic  instinct  had  been  awakened,  and  before  he  was  fourteen 
Motherwell  had  made  the  first  draft  of  his  fine  lyric. 

Meanwhile,  his  father  becoming  embarrassed  in  business,  the  boy 
had  been  sent  to  an  uncle,  an  ironfounder  at  Paisley.  There,  at  the 
Grammar  School,  he  finished  his  education,  with  the  exception  of  a 
session  later  in  life  at  the  Greek  and  Latin  classes  in  Glasgow 
University.  At  school,  when  he  was  supposed  to  be  busy  with  his 
lessons,  he  was  oftener  entertaining  his  comrades  with  long  yarns  about 
castles,  robbers,  and  strange,  out-of-the-way  adventures ;  and  in  the 
Paisley  Sheriff-Clerk's  office,  in  which  he  was  placed  at  the  age  of 
fifteen,  he  indulged  his  taste  for  mediaeval  romance  by  the  deciphering 
of  antique  documents,  and  the  sketching  of  knights  in  armour  and  the 
like.  One  of  these  sketches,  of  the  Sheriff  himself,  upon  a  blotter, 
attracted  the  notice  of  Sheriff  Campbell  one  day  in  Court,  and  excited 
his  interest  in  the  lad.  Motherwell  in  consequence  was  appointed 
Sheriff-Clerk  Depute  of  Renfrewshire  in  1819,  and  he  held  the  post 
with  credit  for  fully  ten  years. 

During  those  years  he  built  up  his  literary  reputation.  In  1818  he 
had  contributed  to  a  small  Greenock  publication,  the  Visitor.  In  1819 
he  supervised  an  edition  of  the  "  Harp  of  Renfrewshire,"  contributing 
a  valuable  introduction  and  notes.  In  1827  appeared  his  ballad  collec- 
tion, "  Minstrelsy  Ancient  and  Modern."  And  in  1828  he  established 
the  Paisley  Monthly  Magazine,  which,  during  its  short  career,  earned 
a  reputation  as  one  of  the  best  conducted  periodicals  of  its  day.  At 
the  same  time  he  had  been  contributing  frequent  articles  to  the  Paisley 
Advertiser,  and  in  1828  he  became  its  editor.  He  was  now  fairly 
launched  as  a  journalist,  and  in  January,  1830,  he  removed  to  Glasgow 
as  editor  of  the  Courier  there. 

In  his  boyish  days  Motherwell's  politics  had  been  of  the  extreme 
Liberal  cast.  His  change  of  views  was  jocularly  attributed  by  some  of 
his  friends  to  a  severe  handling  which  he  received  on  one  occasion,  in 
performance  of  his  duties  as  Sheriff-Clerk  Depute,  from  a  party  of 
Paisley  Radicals.  It  was  during  the  "Radical  War"  in  1818.  He 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL       235 

was  thrown  down,  trampled  on,  and  on  the  point  of  being  thrown  over 
a  bridge  into  the  Cart  by  the  infuriated  mob,  when  he  was  rescued. 
But  by  instinct  he  was  of  the  chivalric  cavalier  type,  and  by  constitution 
no  less  than  conviction  he  was  an  extreme  Tory.  At  the  time  of  his 
appointment  to  the  Courier  political  feeling  was  at  its  fiercest  in  the 
country.  It  was  the  time  of  the  Reform  Bill  agitation,  and  Motherwell, 
as  editor  of  a  Tory  newspaper,  acquitted  himself  in  the  thick  of  the 
fight.  In  the  "  Sma'  Weftianse"  of  the  Glasgow  Sma'  Weft  Club, 
printed  in  the  Scots  J^imes  in  October,  1829,  he  is  satirised  good- 
naturedly  as  the  "  Baron  o'  Mearns,"  and  the  circumstance  is  alluded 
to  of  his  heading  a  band  of  hired  porters  to  prevent  the  Whigs  from 
entering  the  Black  Bull  ballroom  during  a  Conservative  meeting  against 
Reform. 

Such  experiences  were  little  conducive  to  the  production  of  poetry, 
and  they  seem  to  have  stopped  the  muse  of  Motherwell ;  yet  his  reputa- 
tion as  a  poet  was  still  to  make.  This,  however,  was  shortly  achieved. 
In  1832  several  notable  publications  appeared  in  Glasgow,  and  to  each 
of  them  Motherwell  made  contributions  of  the  highest  merit.  To  John 
Strang's  paper,  The  Day,  he  gave  "  The  Solemn  Song  of  a  Righteous 
Heart,"  "The  Etin  of  Sillerwood,"  and  other  fine  poems,  besides  the 
amusing  prose  "Memoirs  of  a  Paisley  Bailie."  To  J.  D.  Carrick's 
"  Whistle -binkie "  he  contributed  "Jeanie  Morrison,"  "My  heid  is 
like  to  rend,  Willie,"  and  many  more  of  its  best  contents.  And  to  the 
"Scottish  Proverbs"  of  Andrew  Henderson,  the  portrait  painter,  he 
supplied  an  interesting  preface.  Lastly,  towards  the  end  of  the  year, 
he  collected  his  scattered  pieces  into  a  small  volume  under  the  title  of 
"Poems  Narrative  and  Lyrical."  On  this  book  his  fame  as  a  poet 
rests. 

Three  years  later  he  was  collecting  material  for  a  life  of  Tannahill, 
had  a  prose  volume  of  Norse  legends  almost  ready  for  the  press,  and 
was  engaged  with  the  Ettrick  Shepherd  on  a  joint  edition  of  the  works 
of  Burns,  when  the  end  came.  There  was  a  movement  on  foot  to 
suppress  the  Orange  Society,  and  Motherwell,  who  had  suffered  himself 
to  be  enrolled  a  member,  was  summoned  to  London  by  a  committee  of 
the  House  of  Commons.  In  his  examination  he  showed  great  mental 
infirmity,  and  broke  down.  Two  months  later,  after  dining  at  a  friend's 
house  in  the  suburbs  of  Glasgow,  he  was  struck  with  sudden  apoplexy 
and  died  in  a  few  hours,  1st  November,  1835.  His  grave  is  in  Glasgow 


236         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Necropolis,  marked  by  a  monument  and  life-like  bust.  The  centenary 
of  the  poet's  birth  was  celebrated  by  a  large  and  influential  gathering  in 
Paisley, 

Short  in  stature  and  kindly  in  face,  he  was  as  warm  in  personal 
friendship  as  he  was  relentless  in  political  warfare.  Strangely  enough, 
many  of  his  keenest  political  enemies  were  his  warmest  personal  friends. 
An  instance  of  his  attitude  is  the  letter  of  strong  commendation  he 
wrote  in  favour  of  Carrick's  appointment  to  the  editorship  of  the 
Kilmarnock  Journal.  His  most  distinctive  and  perhaps  strongest 
poetry  is  his  versification  of  the  Scandinavian  folk-songs.  In  this  field 
he  rivalled  Gray,  and  what  Lockhart  did  for  the  Moorish  ballads 
Motherwell  in  a  less  degree  may  be  said  to  have  done  for  those  of  the 
Norsemen.  He  was  also  strikingly  successful  in  imitating  the  folk- 
,  songs  of  his  own  country.  But  his  most  popular  pieces  are  those  in 
which  he  strikes  the  simplest  and  most  tender  chords  of  natural  feeling. 
"  My  heid  is  like  to  rend,  Willie,"  remains  the  most  painfully  pathetic 
thing  in  all  Scottish  poetry.  This  and  his  ' '  Jeanie  Morrison  "  are  the 
productions  by  which  he  will  probably  continue  to  be  best  remembered. 
The  perfection  of  the  latter  was  a  result  of  the  slow  elaboration  of 
more  than  twenty  years. 

A  memoir  of  the  poet,  by  his  friend  and  medical  adviser,  Dr.  James 
M'Conechy,  was  prefixed  to  a  new  edition  of  his  poems  in  1847.  The 
most  complete  editions  are  those  of  1865  and  1881.  Edgar  Allan  Poe 
paid  a  noble  tribute  to  Mother  well's  genius  in  his  "  Essay  on  the 
Poetic  Principle,"  and  it  does  not  seem  too  much  to  suppose  that  the 
American  poet  was  influenced  by  some  of  the  latter's  weird  effects. 
An  able  appreciation  of  Motherwell  was  included  recently  by  Sir 
George  Douglas,  Bart.,  in  his  volume  on  Hogg  and  other  poets  in 
the  "Famous  Scots"  series. 


JEANIE   MORRISON 

I've  wandered  east,  I've  wandered  west, 
Through  mony  a  weary  way, 

But  never,  never  can  forget 
The  love  o'  life's  young  day. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL       237 

The  fire  that's  blawn  on  Beltane  e'en 

May  weel  be  black  gin  Yule, 
But  blacker  fa'  awaits  the  heart 

Where  first  fond  love  grows  cool. 

0  dear,  dear  Jeanie  Morrison, 
The  thochts  o'  bygane  years 

Still  fling  their  shadows  ower  my  path, 

And  blind  my  een  wi'  tears. 
They  blind  my  een  wi'  saut,  saut  tears, 

And  sair  and  sick  I  pine, 
As  memory  idly  summons  up 

The  blythe  blinks  o'  lang  syne. 

'Twas  then  we  loved  ilk  ither  weel, 

'Twas  then  we  twa  did  part, 
Sweet  time — sad  time  !  twa  bairns  at  schule — 

Twa  bairns  and  but  ae  heart. 
'Twas  then  we  sat  on  ae  laigh  bink, 

To  leir  ilk  ither  lear, 
And  tones  and  looks  and  smiles  were  shed, 

Remembered  evermair. 

1  wonder,  Jeanie,  aften  yet, 

When  sitting  on  that  bink, 
Cheek  touchin'  cheek,  loof  locked  in  loof, 

What  our  wee  heads  could  think  ! 
When  baith  bent  doun  ower  ae  braid  page, 

Wi'  ae  buik  on  our  knee, 
Thy  lips  were  on  thy  lesson,  but 

My  lesson  was  in  thee. 


238         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Oh,  mind  ye  how  we  hung  our  heads, 

How  cheeks  brent  red  wi'  shame, 
Whene'er  the  schule-weans  laughing  said 

We  cleeked  thegither  hame  ? 
And  mind  ye  o'  the  Saturdays — 

The  schule  then  skail't  at  noon — 
When  we  ran  aff  to  speel  the  braes, 

The  broomy  braes  o'  June  ? 

My  head  rins  round  and  round  about, 

My  heart  flows  like  a  sea, 
As  ane  by  ane  the  thochts  rush  back 

O'  schule-time  and  o'  thee. 
Oh,  mornin'  life  !  oh,  mornin'  love  ! 

Oh,  lichtsome  days  and  lang, 
When  hinnied  hopes  around  our  hearts 

Like  simmer  blossoms  sprang  ! 

Oh,  mind  ye,  love,  how  aft  we  left 

The  deavin',  dinsome  toun, 
To  wander  by  the  green  burnside, 

And  hear  its  waters  croon  ? 
The  simmer  leaves  hung  ower  our  heads, 

The  flowers  burst  round  our  feet, 
And  in  the  gloamin'  o'  the  wood 

The  throstle  whusslit  sweet. 

The  throstle  whusslit  in  the  wood, 

The  burn  sang  to  the  trees, 
And  we,  with  Nature's  heart  in  tune 

Concerted  harmonies ; 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      239 

And  on  the  knowe  abune  the  burn 

For  hours  thegither  sat 
In  the  silentness  o'  joy,  till  baith 

Wi'  very  gladness  grat. 

Aye,  aye,  dear  Jeanie  Morrison, 

Tears  trinkled  down  your  cheek, 
Like  dew-beads  on  a  rose,  yet  nane 

Had  ony  power  to  speak  ! 
That  was  a  time,  a  blessed  time, 

When  hearts  were  fresh  and  young, 
When  freely  gushed  all  feelings  forth, 

Unsyllabled,  unsung. 

I  marvel,  Jeanie  Morrison, 

Gin  I  ha'e  been  to  thee 
As  closely  twined  wi'  earliest  thochts 

As  ye  ha'e  been  to  me. 
Oh  !  tell  me  gin  their  music  fills 

Thine  ear  as  it  does  mine  ! 
Oh  !  say  gin  e'er  your  heart  grows  grit 

Wi'  dreamings  o'  lang  syne  ! 

I've  wandered  east,  I've  wandered  west, 

I've  borne  a  weary  lot ; 
But  in  my  wanderings,  far  or  near, 

Ye  never  were  forgot. 
The  fount  that  first  burst  frae  this  heart 

Still  travels  on  its  way, 
And  channels  deeper,  as  it  rins, 

The  love  o'  life's  young  day. 


24o        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

O  dear,  dear  Jeanie  Morrison, 

Since  we  were  sindered  young, 
I've  never  seen  your  face,  nor  heard 

The  music  o'  your  tongue ; 
But  I  could  hug  all  wretchedness, 

And  happy  could  I  dee, 
Did  I  but  ken  your  heart  still  dreamed 

O'  bygane  days  and  me  ! 


THE   CAVALIER'S   SONG 

A  steed,  a  steed  of  matchless  speed  ! 

A  sword  of  metal  keen  ! 
All  else  to  noble  hearts  is  dross, 

All  else  on  earth  is  mean. 
The  neighing  of  the  war-horse  proud, 

The  rolling  of  the  drum, 
The  clangour  of  the  trumpet  loud 

Be  sounds  from  heaven  that  come. 
And  O  !  the  thundering  press  of  knights, 

When  as  their  war-cries  swell, 
May  toll  from  heaven  an  angel  bright, 

And  rouse  a  fiend  from  hell. 

Then  mount,  then  mount,  brave  gallants  all, 

And  don  your  helms  amain  ; 
Death's  couriers,  Fame  and  Honour,  call 

Us  to  the  field  again. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      241 

No  shrewish  tears  shall  fill  our  eye 

When  the  sword-hilt's  in  our  hand  : 
Heart-whole  we'll  part,  and  no  whit  sigh 

For  the  fairest  of  the  land  ! 
Let  piping  swain  and  craven  wight 

Thus  weep  and  puling  cry ; 
Our  business  is  like  men  to  fight, 

And  hero-like  to  die. 


THE  SOLEMN  SONG  OF  A  RIGHTEOUS 
HEART 

There  is  a  mighty  noise  of  bells 

Rushing  from  the  turret  free. 
A  solemn  tale  of  truth  it  tells 

O'er  land  and  sea — 
How  hearts  be  breaking  fast,  and  then 

Wax  whole  again. 

Poor  fluttering  Soul !  why  tremble  so 

To  quit  life's  fast  decaying  tree  ? 

Time  worms  its  core,  and  it  must  bow 
To  fate's  decree : 

Its  last  branch  breaks,  but  thou  must  soar 
For  evermore. 

No  more  thy  wing  shall  touch  gross  earth : 

Far  under  shall  its  shadows  flee, 
R 


242         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

And  all  its  sounds  of  woe  or  mirth 

Grow  strange  to  thee. 
Thou  wilt  not  mingle  in  its  noise, 

Nor  count  its  joys. 

Fond  one  !  why  cling  thus  unto  life, 

As  if  its  sands  were  meet  for  thee  ? 

Surely  its  folly,  bloodshed,  strife, 
Liked  never  thee ! 

This  world  grows  madder  each  new  day, 
Vice  bears  such  sway. 

Couldst  thou  in  slavish  arts  excel, 

And  crawl  upon  the  supple  knee, 

Couldst  thou  each  woe-worn  wretch  repel, 
This  world's  for  thee. 

Not  in  this  sphere  man  owns  a  brother : 
Then  seek  another. 

Couldst  thou  bewray  thy  birthright  so 
As  flatter  guilt's  prosperity, 

And  laud  oppression's  iron  blow, 
This  world's  for  thee. 

Sithence  to  this  thou  wilt  not  bend, 
Life's  at  an  end. 

Couldst  thou  spurn  virtue  meanly  clad, 
As  if  'twere  spotted  infamy, 

And  praise  as  good  what  is  most  bad, 
This  world's  for  thee. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      243 

Sithence  thou  canst  not  will  it  so, 
Poor  flatterer,  go  ! 


If  head  with  heart  could  so  accord 

In  bond  of  perfect  amity, 
That  falsehood  reigned  in  thought,  deed,  word, 

This  world's  for  thee. 
But  scorning  guile,  truth-plighted  one, 

Thy  race  is  run  ! 

Couldst  thou  laugh  loud  when  grieved  hearts  weep, 
And  fiendlike  probe  their  agony, 

Rich  harvest  here  thou  soon  wouldst  reap — 
This  world's  for  thee. 

But  with  the  weeper  thou  must  weep, 
And  sad  watch  keep. 

Couldst  thou  smile  sweet  when  wrong  hath  wrung 
The  withers  of  the  poor  but  proud, 

And  by  the  roots  pluck  out  the  tongue 
That  dare  be  loud 

In  righteous  cause,  whate'er  may  be — 
This  world's  for  thee. 

This  canst  thou  not  ?     Then,  fluttering  thing, 

Unstained  in  thy  purity, 
Sweep  towards  heaven  with  tireless  wing — 

Meet  home  for  thee. 
Fear  not  the  crashing  of  life's  tree — 

God's  love  guides  thee. 


244        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

And  thus  it  is  :  these  solemn  bells, 
Swinging  in  the  turret  free, 

And  tolling  forth  their  sad  farewells 
O'er  land  and  sea, 

Tell  how  hearts  break  full  fast,  and  then, 
Grow  whole  again. 


MY   HEID    IS   LIKE   TO  REND,   WILLIE 

My  heid  is  like  to  rend,  Willie, 

My  heart  is  like  to  break ; 
I'm  wearin'  aff  my  feet,  Willie, 

I'm  dying  for  your  sake  ! 
Oh,  lay  your  cheek  to  mine,  Willie, 

Your  hand  on  my  breist-bane — 
Oh,  say  ye'll  think  on  me,  Willie, 

When  I  am  deid  and  gane  ! 

It's  vain  to  comfort  me,  Willie, 

Sair  grief  maun  ha'e  its  will ; 
But  let  me  rest  upon  your  briest 

To  sab  and  greet  my  fill. 
Let  me  sit  on  your  knee,  Willie, 

Let  me  shed  by  your  hair, 
And  look  into  the  face,  Willie, 

I  never  shall  see  mair. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      245 

I'm  sitting  on  your  knee,  Willie, 

For  the  last  time  in  my  life — 
A  puir,  heart-broken  thing,  Willie, 

A  mither,  yet  nae  wife. 
Aye,  press  your  hand  upon  my  heart, 

And  press  it  mair  and  mair, 
Or  it  will  burst  the  silken  twine, 

Sae  strang  is  its  despair. 

Oh,  wae's  me  for  the  hour,  Willie, 

When  we  thegither  met — 
Oh,  wae's  me  for  the  time,  Willie, 

That  our  first  tryste  was  set ! 
Oh,  wae's  me  for  the  loanin'  green 

Where  we  were  wont  to  gae  ! 
And  wae's  me  for  the  destiny 

That  gart  me  love  thee  sae ! 

Oh  !  dinna  mind  my  words,  Willie  ! 

I  downa  seek  to  blame: 
But  oh  !  it's  hard  to  live,  Willie, 

And  dree  a  warld's  shame  ! 
Het  tears  are  hailin'  ower  your  cheek, 

And  hailin'  ower  your  chin ; 
Why  weep  ye  sae  for  worthlessness, 

For  sorrow,  and  for  sin  ? 

I'm  weary  o'  this  warld,  Willie, 

And  sick  wi'  a'  I  see ; 
I  canna  live  as  I  ha'e  lived, 

Or  be  as  I  should  be. 


246        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

But  fauld  unto  your  heart,  Willie, 
The  heart  that  still  is  thine, 

And  kiss  ance  mair  the  white,  white  cheek 
Ye  said  was  red  lang  syne. 

A  stoun  gaes  through  my  heid,  Willie — 

A  sair  stoun  through  my  heart ! 
Oh,  haud  me  up,  and  let  me  kiss 

Thy  brow  ere  we  twa  part. 
Anither,  and  anither  yet ! — 

How  fast  my  life-strings  break ! 
Fareweel !  fareweel !  through  yon  kirkyard 

Step  lichtly  for  my  sake  ! 

The  laverock  in  the  lift,  Willie, 

That  lilts  far  ower  our  heid, 
Will  sing  the  morn  as  merrily 

Abune  the  clay-cauld  deid ; 
And  this  green  turf  we're  sitting  on, 

Wi'  dewdraps'  shimmerin'  sheen, 
Will  hap  the  heart  that  lovit  thee 

As  warld  has  seldom  seen. 

But  oh  !  remember  me,  Willie, 

On  land  where'er  ye  be  ; 
And  oh  !  think  on  the  leal,  leal  heart 

That  ne'er  loved  ane  but  thee  ! 
And  oh  !  think  on  the  cauld,  cauld  mouls 

That  fyle  my  yellow  hair — 
That  kiss  the  cheek  and  kiss  the  chin 

Ye  never  sail  kiss  mair. 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      247 


THE    MERMAIDEN 

"  The  nicht  is  mirk,  and  the  wind  blaws  schill, 

And  the  white  faem  weets  my  bree, 
And  my  mind  misgi'es  me,  gay  maiden, 
That  the  land  we  sail  never  see." 

Then  up  and  spak'  the  mermaiden, 

And  she  spak'  blythe  and  free  : 
"  I  never  said  to  my  bonnie  bridegroom 
That  on  land  we  should  weddit  be. 

"  Oh,  I  never  said  that  an  earthly  priest 

Our  bridal  blessing  should  gi'e ; 
And  I  never  said  that  a  landward  bower 
Should  hald  my  love  and  me." 

"  And  whare  is  that  priest,  my  bonnie  mayden, 

If  an  earthly  wight  is  na  he  ?  " 
"  Oh,  the  wind  will  sough  and  the  sea  will  rair 

When  wedded  we  twa  sail  be." 

"  And  whare  is  that  bower,  my  bonnie  maiden, 

If  on  land  it  shouldna  be  ?  " 
"  Oh,  my  blythe  bower  is  low,"  said  the  mermaiden, 

"  In  the  bonnie  green  howes  o'  the  sea. 

"  My  gay  bower  is  biggit  o'  the  gude  ships'  keels, 

And  the  banes  o'  the  drowned  at  sea : 
The  fish  are  the  deer  that  fill  my  parks, 
And  the  water  waste  my  dowrie. 


248         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

"  And  my  bower  is  slatit  wi'  the  big  blue  waves, 

And  paved  wi'  the  yellow  sand, 
And  in  my  chalmers  grow  bonnie  white  flowers 
That  never  grew  on  land. 

"  And  have  ye  e'er  seen,  my  bonnie  bridegroom, 

A  leman  on  earth  that  wad  gi'e 
Acre  for  acre  o'  the  red  ploughed  land 
As  I'll  gi'e  to  thee  o'  the  sea? 

"  The  mune  will  rise  in  half  an  hour, 

And  the  wee  bricht  starns  will  shine, 
Then  we'll  sink  to  my  bower  'neath  the  wan  water 
Full  fifty  fathoms  and  nine." 

A  wild,  wild  skreich  gied  the  fey  bridegroom, 
And  a  loud,  loud  laugh  the  bride ; 

For  the  mune  rose  up,  and  the  twa  sank  down 
Under  the  silvered  tide. 


THE     SONG     OF     HARALD 

From  "  The  Battle- Flag  of  Sigurd" 

"  The  ship-borne  warriors  of  the  north, 

The  sons  of  Woden's  race, 
To  battle  as  to  feast  go  forth, 

With  stern  and  changeless  face ; 
And  I,  the  last  of  a  great  line, 

The  Self-devoted,  long 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL       249 

To  lift  on  high  the  Runic  sign 

Which  gives  my  name  to  song. 
In  battle-field  young  Harald  falls 

Amid  a  slaughtered  foe, 
But  backward  never  bears  this  flag, 

While  streams  to  ocean  flow. 
On,  on  above  the  crowded  dead 

This  Runic  scroll  shall  flare, 
And  round  it  shall  the  lightning  spread 

From  swords  that  never  spare." 
So  rush  the  hero-words  from  the  death-doomed  one, 
While  skalds  harp  aloud  the  renown  of  his  fathers. 

"  Flag,  from  your  folds  !  and  fiercely  wake, 

War-music,  on  the  wind  ! 
Lest  tenderest  thoughts  should  rise  to  shake 

The  sternness  of  my  mind. 
Brynhilda,  maiden  meek  and  fair, 

Pale  watcher  by  the  sea, 
I  hear  thy  wailings  on  the  air, 

Thy  heart's  dirge  sung  for  me. 
In  vain  thy  milk-white  hands  are  wrung 

Above  the  salt  sea  foam ; 
The  wave  that  bears  me  from  thy  bower 

Shall  never  bear  me  home. 
Brynhilda  !  seek  another  love, 

But  ne'er  wed  one  like  me, 
Who,  death-foredoomed  from  above, 

Joys  in  his  destiny." 

Thus  mourned  young  Harald  as  he  thought  on  Brynhilda, 
While  his  eyes  filled  with  tears  which  glittered,  but  fell  not. 


250        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

"  On  sweeps  Sigurdir's  battle-flag, 

The  scourge  of  war,  from  shore 
It  dashes  through  the  seething  foam, 

But  I  return  no  more ! 
Wedded  unto  a  fatal  bride — 

Boun  for  a  bloody  bed, 
And  battling  for  her  side  by  side, 

Young  Harald's  doom  is  sped. 
In  starkest  fight,  where  kemp  on  kemp 

Reel  headlong  to  the  grave, 
There  Harald's  axe  shall  ponderous  ring, 

There  Sigurd's  flag  shall  wave  ! 
Yes,  underneath  this  standard  tall, 

Beside  this  fateful  scroll, 
Down  shall  the  tower-like  prison  fall 

Of  Harald's  haughty  soul ! " 

So  sings  the  Death-seeker,  while  nearer  and  nearer 
The  fleet  of  the  Northmen  bears  down  to  the  shore. 

"  Green  lie  those  thickly  timbered  shores, 

Fair  sloping  to  the  sea ; 
They're  cumbered  with  the  harvest  stores 

That  wave  but  for  the  free. 
Our  sickle  is  the  gleaming  sword, 

Our  garner  the  broad  shield : 
Let  peasants  sow,  but  still  he's  lord 

Who's  master  of  the  field. 
Let  them  come  on,  the  bastard- born, 

Each  soil-stained  churl — alack  ! 
What  gain  they  but  a  splitten  skull, 

A  sod  for  their  base  back  ? 


WILLIAM    MOTHERWELL      251 

They  sow  for  us  these  goodly  lands, 

We  reap  them  in  our  might, 
Scorning  all  title  but  the  brands 

That  triumph  in  the  fight ! " 

It  was  thus  the  land-winners  of  old  gained  their  glory ; 
And  grey  stones  voiced  their  praise  in  the  bays  of  far  isles. 

"  The  rivers  of  yon  island  low 

Glance  redly  in  the  sun ; 
But  ruddier  still  they're  doomed  to  glow, 

And  deeper  shall  they  run. 
The  torrent  of  proud  life  shall  swell 

Each  river  to  the  brim, 
And  in  that  spate  of  blood  how  well 

The  headless  corpse  shall  swim  ! 
The  smoke  of  many  a  shepherd's  cot 

Curls  from  each  peopled  glen, 
And  hark  !  the  song  of  maidens  mild, 

The  shout  of  joyous  men  ! 
But  one  may  hew  the  oaken  tree 

The  other  shape  the  shroud, 
As  the  Landeyda  o'er  the  sea 

Sweeps  like  a  tempest  cloud." 
So  shouteth  fierce  Harald ;  so  echo  the  Northmen, 
As  shoreward  their  ships  like  mad  steeds  are  careering. 

"  Sigurdir's  battle-flag  is  spread 

Abroad  to  the  blue  sky ; 
And  spectral  visions  of  the  dead 
Are  trooping  grimly  by. 


252         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

The  spirit  heralds  rush  before 

Harald's  destroying  brand ; 
They  hover  o'er  yon  fated  shore 

And  death-devoted  band. 
Marshal,  stout  jarls,  your  battle  fast ; 

And  fire  each  beacon  height ! 
Our  galleys  anchor  in  the  sound, 

Our  banner  heaves  in  sight. 
And  through  the  surge  and  arrowy  shower 

That  rains  on  this  broad  shield, 
Harald  uplifts  the  sign  of  power 

Which  rules  the  battle-field  !  " 

So  cries  the  Death-doomed  on  the  red  strand  of  slaughter, 
While  the  helmets  of  heroes  like  anvils  are  ringing.1 


i  The  idea  of  this  poem — of  a  flag  that  brought  victory  to  its  side,  but 
certain  death  to  its  bearer — seems  to  have  been  a  favourite  among  the 
Scandinavians.  A  similar  legend  has  been  handed  down  regarding  the 
"  Fairy  Flag"  of  the  Macleods,  preserved  at  Dunvegan,  and  described 
by  Sir  Walter  Scott  in  his  too  short  autobiography.  This  flag  had 
three  virtues :  it  multiplied  the  forces  of  the  Macleods  in  battle,  it 
rendered  the  marriage  bed  fertile,  and  it  brought  herring  into  the  loch. 
Twice  already  has  its  power  been  exercised  on  the  battlefield.  Should 
it  be  displayed  a  third  time  it  will  again  ensure  triumph  to  Macleod, 
but  the  flag  and  its  bearer  will  together  vanish  from  earth. 


ROBERT    POLLOK 

1798-1827 

THERE  is  a  striking  difference  between  the  £15  said  to  have  been 
received  by  Milton  for  "  Paradise  Lost "  and  the  ^2500  realised  by 
Robert  Pollok's  "Course  of  Time."  The  astonishing  success  of  the 
later  production  is  accounted  for,  not  so  much  by  its  merit,  for  in  this, 
though  notable  enough,  it  falls  far  short  of  its  great  prototype,  but  by 
the  fact  that  the  poem  appealed  in  a  peculiar  way  to  the  religious  spirit 
of  Scotland.  For  the  greater  part  of  a  century  Pollok's  "Course  of 
Time  "  was  to  be  found  beside  the  Bible  and  Shorter  Catechism  on  the 
shelf  of  well-nigh  every  farmhouse  and  cottage  in  the  country. 

The  facts  of  the  poet's  career  were  few  and  pathetic.  Son  of  an 
upland  farmer,  he  was  born  at  the  steading  of  North  Moorhouse  in  the 
parish  of  Eaglesham,  I9th  October,  1798.  The  house  has  since  been 
rebuilt,  but  when  the  poet  was  seven  years  old  the  family  removed  to 
Mid  Moorhouse  close  by,  and  within  its  walls,  standing  roofless  now, 
and  on  the  grassy  moors  around,  Pollok  gathered  the  inspiration  of  his 
genius.  Ballageich,  the  highest  hill  in  Renfrewshire,  rises  a  mile  or 
two  to  the  south.  From  its  summit  twelve  counties  can  be  seen — from 
the  blue  seas  flashing  round  Arran  to  the  sunny  Ochils  and  the  silver 
Forth.  It  was  the  country  of  the  Covenanters ;  Pollok's  own  ancestors 
had  been  hunted  and  shot  there  in  the  "killing  years";  every  hollow 
of  the  moors  had  its  memory  of  the  persecuted  people ;  and  the  farm  of 
Lochgoin  at  hand  was  the  home  of  their  historian,  John  Howie.  Mid 
Moorhouse  itself  was  a  suggestive  spot,  its  foundations  dating,  it  was 
believed,  from  the  times  of  Robert  the  Bruce. 

After  seven  years  at  the  school  of  Mearns,  and  two  years'  labour  on 
the  farm,  Pollok  went  to  Barrhead  to  learn  cabinet-making.  After 
achieving  four  chairs,  however,  he  returned  home,  convinced  that  the 


254        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

making  of  furniture  was  not  his  calling.  He  and  an  elder  brother, 
David,  then  set  themselves  to  enter  the  ministry.  At  Glasgow  Univer- 
sity the  future  poet  distinguished  himself  in  logic  and  moral  philosophy, 
and  in  March,  1822,  graduated  Master  of  Arts.  A  long  five  years, 
however,  had  still  to  be  spent  at  the  Divinity  Hall  of  the  United 
Secession  Church  in  Glasgow.  Alas  !  as  has  been  the  case  with 
hundreds  of  other  aspirants  to  "the  ministry,"  the  long  struggle  upon 
scanty  means  proved  too  much  for  the  student,  and  the  battle  was  won 
by  a  dying  man. 

Three  years  before  completing  his  divinity  course,  in  straits  for 
money,  Pollok  wrote  and  published  anonymously  a  volume  of  "Tales 
of  the  Covenanters,"  and  during  the  autumn  of  1826,  the  year  of 
the  short  corn,  he  wrought  with  feverish  haste  at  the  great  poem  by 
which  he  hoped  to  win  a  name.  He  wrote  at  the  rate  of  a  hundred 
lines  a  day,  sometimes  on  the  summit  of  Ballageich,  but  oftener  in  his 
own  little  room  in  the  lonely  farmhouse  below.  "  Towards  the  end  of 
the  tenth  book,"  he  wrote  to  his  brother,  "  for  the  whole  consists  of  ten 
books — where  the  subject  was  overwhelmingly  great,  and  where  I 
indeed  seemed  to  write  from  immediate  inspiration,  I  felt  the  body 
beginning  to  give  way.  But  now  that  I  have  finished,  though  thin 
with  the  great  heat  and  the  unintermitted  mental  exercise,  I  am  by  no 
means  languishing  and  feeble.  Since  the  1st  of  June,  which  was  the 
day  I  began  to  write  last,  we  have  had  a  Grecian  atmosphere,  and  I 
find  the  serenity  of  the  heavens  of  incalculable  benefit  for  mental 
pursuit." 

The  work  was  published  in  March,  1827,  and  was  hailed  at  once  with 
great  applause.  It  is  said  that  when  the  manuscript  was  submitted  by 
the  publisher,  Blackwood,  to  Professor  Wilson,  the  latter  had  an  engage- 
ment to  dine  with  a  friend,  but  became  so  absorbed  in  reading  the 
poem  that  dinner  and  friend  were  together  forgotten. 

Two  months  after  the  appearance  of  his  poem,  on  2nd  May,  1827, 
Pollok  received  his  licence  as  a  probationer.  Next  day  he  preached  in 
the  pulpit  of  the  Rev.  Dr.  Brown,  at  Edinburgh.  In  the  congregation 
was  Dr.  Belfrage,  the  preacher-physician.  He  detected  the  death-sign 
in  the  countenance  of  the  young  probationer,  and  carried  him  off  to  his 
own  manse  at  Slateford,  near  the  Pentlands,  where  everything  possible 
was  done  for  him.  As  a  last  resource  the  invalid  set  out  for  Italy. 
Before  going,  he  instructed  his  brother  to  burn  his  minor  poems ;  and 


ROBERT    POLLOK  255 

he  bade  farewell,  at  the  lovely  Crook  of  the  Lainsh,  on  the  moors  beyond 
Ballageich,  to  Mary  Campbell,  the  girl  whom  he  had  hoped  to  make 
his  wife.  The  parting  was  for  ever.  He  got  no  further  south  than 
Southampton,  and  there,  a  month  later,  lyth  September,  1827,  he 
died. 

In  1843  a  selection  of  Pollok's  minor  pieces,  with  a  memoir  by  his 
brother,  was  published  at  Edinburgh.  A  volume  of  Life,  Letters,  and 
Literary  Remains,  edited  by  the  Rev.  James  Scott,  also  appeared  at 
New  York.  In  1898  Messrs.  Blackwood  published  the  thirty-first 
edition  of  "The  Course  of  Time."  Over  Pollok's  grave  at  Millbrook, 
near  Southampton,  his  admirers  set  up  a  granite  obelisk,  and  in 
September,  1900,  by  way  of  marking  his  centenary,  another  monument 
was  erected  near  his  birthplace  on  the  Mearns  Moor. 

Pollok's  genius  was  most  ambitious.  His  poem  aimed  at  nothing 
less  than  a  spiritual  history  of  mankind.  As  might  be  expected,  it  is 
unequal  in  execution.  Nevertheless,  it  contains  passages  which  approach 
Milton,  and  which,  as  Professor  Wilson  said,  "Heave  and  hurry  and 
glow  along  in  a  divine  enthusiasm."  Orthodox  in  the  strictest  sense, 
it  addressed  itself  warmly  to  the  theological  spirit  of  its  time,  and  may 
be  held  to  justify  its  author's  title  as  the  "  laureate  of  Calvinism." 


HAIL,   HOLY   LOVE! 

From  "  The  Course  of  Time " — Book   V. 

Hail,  holy  love  !  thou  word  that  sums  all  bliss, 
Gives  and  receives  all  bliss,  fullest  when  most 
Thou  givest !  spring-head  of  all  felicity  ! 
Deepest  when  most  is  drawn  !  emblem  of  God  ! 
O'erflowing  most  when  greatest  numbers  drink 
Essence  that  binds  the  uncreated  Three, 
Chain  that  unites  creation  to  its  Lord, 
Centre  to  which  all  being  gravitates, 
Eternal,  ever-growing,  happy  love  ! 


256        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Enduring  all,  hoping,  forgiving  all ; 
Instead  of  law,  fulfilling  every  law ; 
Entirely  blest  because  thou  seek'st  no  more, 
Hopest  not,  nor  fear'st ;  but  on  the  present  livest, 
And  hold'st  perfection  smiling  in  thy  arms. 
Mysterious,  infinite,  exhaustless  love  ! 
On  earth  mysterious,  and  mysterious  still 
In  heaven  •  sweet  chord  that  harmonises  all 
The  harps  of  Paradise  !  the  spring,  the  well, 
That  fills  the  bowl  and  banquet  of  the  sky  ! 

But  why  should  I  to  thee  of  love  divine  ? 
Who  happy,  and  not  eloquent  of  love  ? 
Who  holy,  and,  as  thou  art,  pure,  and  not 
A  temple  where  her  glory  ever  dwells, 
Where  burn  her  fires,  and  beams  her  perfect  eye  ? 

Kindred  to  this,  part  of  this  holy  flame, 
Was  youthful  love — the  sweetest  boon  of  earth. 
Hail,  love !  first  love  !  thou  word  that  sums  all  bliss  ! 
The  sparkling  cream  of  all  Time's  blessedness, 
The  silken  down  of  happiness  complete  ! 
Discerner  of  the  ripest  grapes  of  joy, 
She  gathered,  and  selected  with  her  hand, 
All  finest  relishes,  all  fairest  sights, 
All  rarest  odours,  all  divinest  sounds, 
All  thoughts,  all  feelings  dearest  to  the  soul ; 
And  brought  the  holy  mixture  home,  and  filled 
The  heart  with  all  superlatives  of  bliss. 

But  who  would  that  expound  which  words  transcends 
Must  talk  in  vain.     Behold  a  meeting  scene 
Of  early  love,  and  thence  infer  its  worth. 


ROBERT   POLLOK  257 

It  was  an  eve  of  Autumn's  holiest  mood ; 
The  cornfields,  bathed  in  Cynthia's  silver  light, 
Stood  ready  for  the  reaper's  gathering  hand, 
And  all  the  winds  slept  soundly.     Nature  seemed 
In  silent  contemplation  to  adore 
Its  Maker.     Now  and  then  the  aged  leaf 
Fell  from  its  fellows,  rustling  to  the  ground, 
And  as  it  fell  bade  man  think  on  his  end. 
On  vale  and  lake,  on  wood  and  mountain  high, 
With  pensive  wing  outspread,  sat  heavenly  Thought 
Conversing  with  itself.     Vesper  looked  forth 
From  out  her  western  hermitage  and  smiled, 
And  up  the  east  unclouded  rode  the  moon 
With  all  her  stars,  gazing  on  earth  intense, 
As  if  she  saw  some  wonder  walking  there. 

Such  was  the  night,  so  lovely,  still,  serene, 
When  by  a  hermit  thorn  that  on  the  hill 
Had  seen  a  hundred  flowery  ages  pass, 
A  damsel  kneeled  to  offer  up  her  prayer — 
Her  prayer  nightly  offered,  nightly  heard. 
This  ancient  thorn  had  been  the  meeting-place 
Of  love  before  his  country's  voice  had  called 
The  ardent  youth  to  fields  of  honour  far 
Beyond  the  wave,  and  hither  now  repaired 
Nightly  the  maid,  by  God's  all-seeing  eye 
Seen  only,  while  she  sought  this  boon  alone — 
Her  lover's  safety  and  his  quick  return. 
In  holy,  humble  attitude  she  kneeled, 
And  to  her  bosom,  fair  as  moonbeam,  pressed 
One  hand,  the  other  lifted  up  to  heaven, 
s 


258        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Her  eye  upturned,  bright  as  the  star  of  morn, 

As  violet  meek,  excessive  ardour  streamed, 

Wafting  away  her  earnest  heart  to  God. 

Her  voice,  scarce  uttered,  soft  as  zephyr  sighs 

On  morning's  lily  cheek,  though  soft  and  low, 

Yet  heard  in  heaven,  heard  at  the  mercy-seat. 

A  tear-drop  wandered  on  her  lovely  face : 

It  was  a  tear  of  faith  and  holy  fear, 

Pure  as  the  drops  that  hang  at  dawning-time 

On  yonder  willows  by  the  stream  of  life. 

On  her  the  moon  looked  steadfastly,  the  stars 

That  circle  nightly  round  the  eternal  throne 

Glanced  down  well-pleased,  and  everlasting  Love 

Gave  gracious  audience  to  her  prayer  sincere. 

Oh,  had  her  lover  seen  her  thus  alone, 
Thus  holy,  wrestling  thus,  and  all  for  him  ! 
Nor  did  he  not,  for  ofttimes  Providence 
With  unexpected  joy  the  fervent  prayer 
Of  faith  surprised.     Returned  from  long  delay, 
With  glory  crowned  of  righteous  actions  won, 
The  sacred  thorn,  to  memory  dear,  first  sought 
The  youth,  and  found  it  at  the  happy  hour, 
Just  when  the  damsel  kneeled  herself  to  pray. 

She  saw  him  not,  heard  not  his  foot  approach. 
All  holy  images  seemed  too  impure 
To  emblem  her  he  saw.     A  seraph  kneeled, 
Beseeching  for  his  ward  before  the  Throne, 
Seemed  fittest,  pleased  him  best.    Sweet  was  the  thought, 
But  sweeter  still  the  kind  remembrance  came 
That  she  was  flesh  and  blood,  formed  for  himself 


ROBERT    POLLOK  259 

The  plighted  partner  of  his  future  life. 

And  as  they  met,  embraced,  and  sat  embowered 

In  woody  chambers  of  the  starry  night, 

Spirits  of  love  about  them  ministered, 

And  God,  approving,  blessed  the  holy  joy. 


WILLIAM    CAMERON 
1801-1877. 

SON  of  a  prosperous  woollen  manufacturer,  who  owned  mills  at 
Slamannan,  Blackburn,  and  Torphichen,  William  Cameron  was  born 
at  Dunipace,  Stirlingshire,  3rd  December,  1801,  and  was  destined  at 
first  for  the  ministry.  His  father's  death,  however,  in  1819,  changed  his 
prospects,  and  he  was  glad  to  accept  the  position  of  schoolmaster  at  the 
village  of  Armadale,  near  Bathgate.  Seventeen  years  later  he  resigned 
the  post,  moved  into  Glasgow,  and  began  a  successful  business  career. 
Poetry  was  his  relaxation,  but  several  of  his  songs  quickly  became 
popular,  and  have  remained  so.  When  the  two  series  of  "  Lyric  Gems 
of  Scotland  "  were  published  in  the  city  he  was  one  of  the  chief  living 
contributors,  and  all  the  songs  by  which  he  is  known  were  included. 
Two  of  these  songs—"  Morag's  Fairy  Glen  "  and  "  Will  ye  gang  to  the 
Baugieburn?" — celebrate  scenes  near  Dunoon,  and  "Gowan  Lea"  was 
the  name  of  his  own  summer  retreat  in  the  same  neighbourhood,  while 
"Jessie  o'  the  Dell"  refers  directly  to  his  earlier  residence  at  Arma- 
dale. The  poet  was  presented  with  a  purse  of  a  hundred  sovereigns  by 
his  friends  and  admirers  in  Glasgow  in  1874,  and  he  died  in  the  city 
three  years  later. 


BOTHWELL   CASTLE 

Old  Bothwell  Castle's  ruined  towers 
Stand  lonely  'mang  yon  woody  bowers, 
Where  Clutha  fondly  winds  around, 
As  loth  to  leave  the  hallowed  ground. 


WILLIAM   CAMERON  261 

But  where  are  now  the  martial  throng, 
The  festive  board,  the  midnight  song  ? 
The  ivy  binds  the  mould'ring  walls, 
And  ruin  reigns  in  Bothwell  halls. 

Oh,  deep  and  long  have  slumbered  now 
The  cares  that  knit  the  soldier's  brow, 
The  lovely  grace,  the  manly  power, 
In  gilded  hall,  and  lady's  bower. 

Old  Bothwell  Castle  !  ages  gone 
Have  left  thee  mould'ring  and  alone, 
While  noble  Douglas  still  retains 
Thy  verdant  groves  and  fair  domains.1 

No  Saxon  foe  may  storm  thy  walls 

Or  riot  in  thy  regal  halls  : 

Long,  long  hath  slept  brave  Wallace'  shade 

And  broken  now  his  battle  blade. 

The  tears  that  fell  from  beauty's  eye, 
The  broken  heart,  the  bitter  sigh,2 
And  deadly  feuds,  have  passed  away, 
Still  thou  art  lovely  in  decay. 


1  James  Stewart,  4th  Baron  Douglas,  son  of  the  winner  of  the  great 
Douglas  Cause,  died  at  Bothwell,  6th  April,  1857.      The  estates  then 
passed,  through  his  niece,  to  the  Earl  of  Home. 

2  "Bothwell   Bank"  is  a  very  old   pathetic  song,   referred  to  in 
Verstegan's   "Restitution  of  Decayed   Intelligence"    in    1605.      An 
account  of  it  is  furnished  in  "  Songs  of  Caledonia,"  Glasgow,  page  50. 


262         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 


THE   GOWAN   LEA 

Meet  me  on  the  gowan  lea, 

Bonnie  Mary,  sweetest  Mary  ! 

Meet  me  on  the  gowan  lea, 
My  ain,  my  artless  Mary  ! 

Before  the  sun  sinks  in  the  west, 
And  nature  a'  has  gane  to  rest, 
There  to  my  fond,  my  faithfu'  breast 
Oh  let  me  clasp  my  Mary. 
Meet  me,  &c. 

The  gladsome  lark  o'er  moor  and  fell, 
The  lintie  in  the  bosky  dell, 
Nae  blyther  than  your  bonnie  sel', 
My  ain,  my  artless  Mary  ! 
Meet  me,  &c. 

We'll  join  our  love-notes  to  the  breeze 
That  sighs  in  whispers  through  the  trees 
And  a'  that  twa  fond  hearts  can  please 
Will  be  our  sang,  dear  Mary. 
Meet  me,  &c. 

There  ye  shall  sing  the  sun  to  rest, 
While  to  my  faithfu'  bosom  pressed. 
Then  wha  sae  happy,  wha  sae  blest 
As  me  and  my  dear  Mary  ? 
Meet  me,  &c. 


WILLIAM    CROSS 

1804-1886 

BORN  in  Paisley,  that  town  where  the  weaving  of  muslin  and  weaving 
of  rhyme  have  so  often  gone  together,  William  Cross  many  a  time,  as  a 
bare-footed  boy,  carried  his  father's  web  to  Glasgow.  That  father  had 
been  admitted  a  member  of  the  Paisley  Craft  of  Weavers  in  1776,  and 
to  his  last  day  the  son  preserved  with  pride  his  craft  ticket,  with  the 
worthy  weaver's  specimen  of  fine  lawn— " seventeen  hunder  linen" — 
attached.  The  poet  was  bred  a  designer  of  textiles,  and  became  a 
shawl  manufacturer  when  Paisley  was  the  great  seat  of  that  trade.  He 
had  strong  literary  tastes,  however,  and  as  early  as  1825  several  of  his 
pieces  appeared  in  a  Paisley  periodical  called  The  Gaberlunzie.  He 
contributed  "The  Covenanter's  Widow"  and  other  pieces  to  Bennet's 
Glasgow  Magazine  in  1833.  And  when  the  third  series  of  "  Whistle- 
binkie  "  appeared,  his  "  Dainty  Bit  Plan  "  and  other  humorous  composi- 
tions were  among  its  contents.  For  Alexander  Colquhoun,  a  teacher 
of  French  in  Paisley,  he  bought  the  Edinburgh  Weekly  Chronicle,  and 
on  Colquhoun's  death  in  1840,  the  shawl  trade  being  greatly  depressed, 
he  took  the  editorship  into  his  own  hands.  Before  leaving  Paisley  on 
that  occasion  he  was  entertained  at  a  large  public  supper  in  the  Golden 
Lion  Inn. 

It  was  the  time  of  the  great  rending  of  th  national  Church,  and  in 
1844:  Cross  contributed  a  tale  on  the  subject,  "  The  Disruption,"  to  the 
columns  of  his  paper.  The  story  became  highly  popular,  was  published 
in  a  separate  volume  in  1846,  and  in  1875  appeared  in  the  columns  of 
the  Glasgow  Weekly  Mail.  Nevertheless  the  Edinburgh  Chronicle  did 
not  succeed,  and  Cross  sold  it  in  1845.  Fulton  of  Glenfield,  and  some 
other  friends  who  knew  his  worth,  then  set  him  up  in  Glasgow.  His 
first  warehouse  was  in  Glassford  Street,  and  for  forty  years  he  carried 
on  a  highly  successful  business  as  a  maker  of  tartan  shawls.  In  1882  he 
collected  his  best  compositions  into  a  volume,  entitled  "  Songs  and 
Miscellaneous  Poems,"  which  was  published  by  Messrs.  Kerr  and 


264         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

Richardson.  His  last  production  was  a  tale  "The  Craigs  of  Muir- 
side,"  illustrative  of  the  witch  prosecutions  in  Scotland,  which  appeared 
in  the  Glasgow  Weekly  Mail  when  he  was  over  fourscore  years  of  age. 

Cross  was  thrice  married,  and  had  a  daughter  each  by  his  first  and 
second  wives.  He  died  in  Glasgow  on  29th  October,  1886,  just  as  the 
"  Guizers,"  in  immemorial  Scottish  fashion,  came  to  the  door.  He  was 
buried  in  Paisley.  An  appreciative  notice  of  his  life  appeared  in  the 
Glasgow  Weekly  Herald  for  6th  November,  1886,  and  his  portrait 
remains  in  the  hands  of  his  only  surviving  daughter,  Mrs.  Millar, 
Helensburgh.  By  those  who  knew  him  his  memory  is  cherished  as 
that  of  a  plain  old  Scotsman,  quiet-living  and  charitable,  who  took 
pleasure  to  the  last  in  speaking  his  native  Doric.  Dr.  Hedderwick, 
in  "  Backward  Glances,"  says  of  him,  "  He  was  one  of  my  oldest 
cronies,  and  one  whom  I  always  held  in  the  highest  regard.  Several  of 
his 'comic  songs  are  not  surpassed  by  many  things  in  the  Scottish 
tongue,  though  his  natural  reserve  and  modesty  gave  little  indication  of 
the  higher  flights  of  which  he  was  capable."  Of  his  poetry  the  best 
pieces  are  "The  Dainty  Bit  Plan,"  "The  Canting  Auld  Kimmer," 
"The  Kilbarchan  Recruit,"  and  "  Charles  First  at  Hampton  Court." 
The  first  three  touch  a  unique  vein  of  humorous  satire ;  the  fourth  has 
a  mournful  dignity,  expressing  with  power  and  effect  the  last  tragic 
reflections  of  the  martyr-king. 


THE   DAINTY   BIT   PLAN 

Our  May  had  an  e'e  to  a  man, 

Nae  less  than  the  newly-placed  preacher ; 
Sae  we  plotted  a  dainty  bit  plan 
For  trappin'  our  spiritual  teacher. 
For  oh  !  we  were  sly,  sly ; 

Oh  !  we  were  sly  and  sleekit ; 
But  ne'er  say  a  herrin'  is  dry 

Until  it's  baith  reisted  and  reekit. 


WILLIAM   CROSS  265 

We  flattered  young  Maister  M'Gock, 

We  plied  him  wi'  tea  and  wi'  toddy, 
And  we  praised  every  word  that  he  spoke, 

Till  we  maist  put  him  oot  o'  the  body. 
For  oh  !  we  were  sly,  sly,  &c. 

Frae  the  kirk  we  were  never  awa', 

Unless  when  frae  hame  he  was  helpin'; 

When  May,  and  the  rest  o'  us  a', 
Ran  far  and  near  after  him  skelpin'. 
For  oh  !  we  were  sly,  sly,  &c. 

But,  to  come  to  the  heart  o'  the  nit, 

The  dainty  bit  plan  that  we  plotted 
Was  to  get  a  subscription  afit, 

And  a  watch  to  the  minister  voted. 
For  oh  !  we  were  sly,  sly,  &c. 

The  young  women-folk  o'  the  kirk 

By  turns  took  a  hand  at  collectin' ; 
But  May  took  the  feck  o'  the  wark, 

And  the  trouble  the  rest  o'  directin'. 
For  oh  !  she  was  sly,  sly,  &c. 

A  gran'  watch  was  gotten  belyve, 

And  May,  wi'  sma'  priggin',  consentit 

To  be  ane  o'  a  party  o'  five 

To  gang  to  the  manse  and  present  it. 
For  oh !  she  was  sly,  sly,  &c. 


266        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Takin'  present  and  speech  baith  in  ban', 

She  delivered  a  bonnie  palaver, 
To  let  Maister  M'Gock  understan' 

How  zealous  she  was  in  his  favour. 
For  oh !  she  was  sly,  sly,  &c. 

She  said  that  "  the  gift  was  to  prove 

That  his  female  frien's  valued  him  highly, 

But  it  couldna  express  half  their  love  " — 
And  she  glintit  her  e'e  at  him  slily. 
For  oh  !  she  was  sly,  sly,  &c. 

He  put  the  gold  watch  in  his  fab, 

And  proudly,  he  said,  he  wad  wear  it ; 
Then,  after  some  flatterin'  gab, 

Tauld  May  he  was  gaun  to  be  marriet ! 
Oh,  we  were  sly,  sly ; 

Oh,  we  were  sly  and  sleekit ; 
But  Maister  M'Gock  was  nae  gowk 
Wi'  our  dainty  bit  plan  to  be  cleekit. 

May  cam'  hame  wi'  her  heart  in  her  mouth, 

And  frae  that  day  became  a  Dissenter ; 
And  now  she's  renewin'  her  youth, 

Wi'  some  hopes  o'  the  Burgher  precentor. 
Oh  !  but  she's  sly,  sly  ; 

Oh  !  she  is  sly  and  sleekit ; 
And  cleverly  opens  ae  door 
As  soon  as  anither  is  steekit. 


GEORGE   JACQUE 

1804-1892 

SON  of  George  Jack,  a  labourer,  and  Jean  Veitch,  of  Border  descent, 
this  author  of  a  well-known  hymn  was  born  at  Douglas  Castle,  i8th 
January,  1804.  As  a  child  he  was  noted  for  his  intimacy  with  the 
birds  of  his  native  strath,  which  he  tamed,  and  could  bring  from  the 
air  to  his  feet  at  a  call.  After  such  schooling  as  Douglas  could  give, 
he  was  sent  to  Glasgow,  and  in  Gallowgate  there  served  for  four  years 
as  a  draper's  apprentice.  But  his  heart,  as  he  said  afterwards,  was  never 
in  business,  and  at  the  age  of  twenty-one  he  found  his  way  into  Glasgow 
University.  Moved  by  the  prelections  of  a  Baptist  preacher,  he  left 
the  Established  Church,  entered  the  Divinity  Hall  of  the  Relief  Church 
at  Paisley,  and  was  licensed  by  the  Presbytery  of  that  denomination  at 
Perth  in  1835.  He  settled  at  Auchterarder,  and  ministered  there  with 
acceptance  for  the  long  period  of  fifty-seven  years. 

For  long  his  preaching  powers  were  hampered  by  a  nervous  disability 
of  the  vocal  chords,  and,  Demosthenes-like,  he  took  to  rehearsing  his 
sermons  to  the  browsing  cattle  on  the  hillsides.  But  after  many  years 
he  got  unexpected  deliverance  by  means  of  an  ulceration  of  the  throat. 
His  discourses,  delivered  without  notes,  were  composed  during  his 
daily  walk  of  seven  or  eight  miles.  In  1856  he  married  Catherine 
Wallace,  and  at  a  later  day  his  brother,  Captain  Gavin,  or  Guy,  as  he 
called  him,  after  half  a  century  of  absence  and  silence,  returned  to 
spend  his  last  years  at  the  manse  fireside.  Jacque's  services  were 
acknowledged  in  1876  by  the  gift  of  a  silver  tea  service  valued  at  £80, 
and  a  work-table  and  chair  for  his  wife.  And  at  his  jubilee  in  1884  he 
was  presented  with  a  sum  of  £600  and  other  gifts.  He  died  I5th 
February,  1892. 

The  cleric-poet  was  an  expert  improviser  on  the  violin,  on  which  he 
composed  airs  to  Byron's  "  Ocean,"  and  many  of  his  own  poems  and 


268        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

hymns.  Of  literary  performances,  he  wrote  a  biography  whose  publi- 
cation was  stopped  by  interested  parties,  and  a  novel  which  remained 
unprinted.  He  was  author  of  several  booklets  published  in  Glasgow, 
and  of  several  contributions  to  the  Christian  Leader  and  other 
religious  papers.  His  best  piece  remains  the  hymn  "  Hark  how 
Heaven  is  Calling,"  written  at  request  of  the  Rev.  W.  Thomson, 
Slateford,  to  suit  the  German  tune  "Arnsberg."  It  was  sung  at  his 
own  funeral.  A  brief  memoir  by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Blair,  Dunblane,  was 
printed,  with  three  of  his  poems,  at  Auchterarder  in  1892.  The 
following  piece  is  included  here  by  Dr.  Blair's  kind  permission:— 


HARK  HOW  HEAVEN  IS  CALLING 

Hark  how  heaven  is  calling, 
In  sweet  echoes  falling 

From  angelic  harps  and  voices  ! 
Tis  the  wondrous  story, 
Chiefest  theme  in  glory — 

Grace  o'er  man  redeemed  rejoices. 

This  inspires  all  their  lyres, 
And  with  harp  and  singing 
Heaven's  dome  is  ringing. 

Saint  unites  with  angel, 
Hymning  the  evangel — 

Glory  to  the  God  of  heaven  ! 
Glory  to  the  Spirit, 
And  to  Jesus'  merit 

Let  hosannas  loud  be  given  ! 
For  He  saves  sinful  slaves, 
Them  from  ruin  raising 
In  His  love  amazing. 


GEORGE   JACQUE  269 

Does  salvation's  story 
Waken  praise  in  glory 

To  the  Lamb  who  suffered  for  us  ? 
And  while  heaven  rejoices 
Shall  not  kindred  voices 

Swell  from  earth  to  join  the  chorus  ? 

Yes,  the  song,  loud  and  strong, 
Shall  to  glory's  portals 
Rise  from  saved  immortals. 


GEORGE    OUTRAM 

1805-1856 

OF  English  extraction,  nephew  of  Benjamin  Outram,  the  famous  civil 
engineer,  and  cousin  of  Sir  James  Outram,  one  of  the  heroes  of 
Lucknow,  the  author  of  "  Legal  Lyrics  "  was  born  at  Clyde  Ironworks, 
Glasgow,  25th  March,  1805.  His  father  was  partner  and  manager  of  the 
ironworks  at  the  time,  but  removed  shortly  afterwards  to  Leith,  and  the 
future  poet  was  educated  at  the  High  School  and  University  of  Edin- 
burgh. In  1827  he  was  called  to  the  Scottish  Bar,  but  being  of  a  retiring 
disposition  confined  himself  mostly  to  the  practice  of  a  chamber  counsel, 
a  sphere  in  which  he  showed  distinguished  ability. 

Outram's  experience  in  his  profession  was  turned  to  account  in  a 
series  of  humorous  and  satirical  pieces,  in  which  he  proved  that  a  field 
previously  considered  barren  contained  ample  material  for  poetry.  His 
compositions  were  mostly  written  to  be  sung  at  festive  gatherings. 
They  were  privately  printed  under  the  title  of  ' '  Legal  Lyrics "  in 
1851,  and  brought  their  author  much  repute  among  the  legal  and 
literary  coteries  of  the  capital.  Regarding  the  most  famous  of  the 
pieces  an  amusing  incident  is  related.  On  the  occasion  of  a  dinner 
given  by  Dr.  Robert  Chambers  to  Outram  and  some  other  friends  it 
was  arranged  that  Peter  Fraser  should  sing  Outram's  "Annuity." 
Immediately  afterwards  Mrs.  Chambers,  dressed  to  suit  the  character, 
sang  "The  Annuitant's  Answer,"  a  piece  written  for  the  purpose  by 
her  husband,  with  a  spirit  little  less  than  that  of  the  original.  Pro- 
ceedings of  this  kind  seem  to  have  been  in  Outram's  way.  On  another 
occasion,  according  to  Dr.  Hedderwick,  who  knew  the  poet,  "his 
love  of  everything  Scotch  was  shown  in  a  famous  dinner  which  he  gave 
to  a  number  of  choice  spirits,  at  which  cockie-leekie,  sheep's  head, 
haggis,  black  pudding,  and  howtowdie  abounded,  the  guests  being  all 
attired  and  made  up  to  represent  well-known  Scottish  characters. " 

Among  the  poet's  closest  friends  were  Lord  Cockburn  and  "Chris- 
topher North."  Outram  shared  the  enthusiasm  of  the  latter  for  angling, 
and  collaborated  with  him  in  producing  the  Dies  Boreaks,  which 
followed  the  more  famous  Nodes  Ambrosiana. 

In  1837  he  married  Frances  M' Robbie,  a  lady  from  Jamaica,  by 
whom  he  became  the  father  of  four  sons  and  one  daughter.  In  1837 


GEORGE    OUTRAM  271 

also  he  accepted  the  editorship  of  the  Glasgow  Herald,  a  position  in 
which,  with  that  of  part  proprietor,  he  remained  till  his  death.  He 
died  at  Rosemore,  his  summer  residence  on  the  Holy  Loch,  I5th 
September,  1856,  and  was  buried  in  Warriston  Cemetery,  Edinburgh. 

Outram's  poems  were  edited,  with  a  biography,  by  his  friend,  Sheriff 
Glassford  Bell,  and  published  by  Messrs.  Blackwood  under  the  title  of 
"  Lyrics  Legal  and  Miscellaneous  "  in  1874.  A  new  edition,  containing 
further  details  and  a  number  of  additional  poems,  was  supervised  by  Dr. 
Stoddart,  one  of  Outram's  successors  in  the  Herald  chair,  in  1888. 

"  The  Annuity  "  is  reproduced  here  by  kind  permission  of  the  poet's 
nephew,  Captain  John  D.  Outram,  who  took  part  with  his  regiment  in 
the  recent  South  African  War,  and  received  a  bullet  through  the  knee 
in  the  action  at  Klipdrift. 


THE    ANNUITY 

I  gaed  to  spend  a  week  in  Fife — 

An  unco  week  it  proved  to  me — 
For  there  I  met  a  waesome  wife 

Lamentin'  her  viduity. 
Her  grief  brak'  out  sae  fierce  and  fell, 
I  thought  her  heart  wad  burst  its  shell, 
And — I  was  sae  left  to  mysel'— 
I  sell't  her  an  annuity. 

The  bargain  lookit  fair  eneuch — 

She  just  was  turned  o'  saxty-three ; 
I  couldna  guessed  she'd  prove  sae  teuch 

By  human  ingenuity. 
But  years  ha'e  come  and  years  ha'e  gane, 
And  there  she's  yet  as  stieve's  a  stane — 
The  limmer's  growin'  young  again 
Since  she  got  her  annuity. 


272        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

She's  crined  awa'  to  bane  and  skin, 

But  that,  it  seems,  is  nought  to  me- 
She's  like  to  live  although  she's  in 

The  last  stage  of  tenuity. 
She  munches  wi'  her  wizened  gums, 
And  stumps  about  on  legs  o'  thrums, 
But  comes  as  sure  as  Christmas  comes 
To  ca'  for  her  annuity. 

I  read  the  tables  drawn  wi'  care 
For  an  insurance  company ; 
Her  chance  o'  life  was  stated  there 

Wi'  perfect  perspicuity. 
But  tables  here,  or  tables  there, 
She's  lived  ten  years  beyond  her  share, 
An's  like  to  live  a  dozen  mair, 
To  ca'  for  her  annuity. 

Last  Yule  she  had  a  fearfu'  hoast ; 

I  thought  a  kink  might  set  me  free 
I  led  her  out,  'mang  snaw  and  frost, 

Wi'  constant  assiduity. 
But  deil  ma  care  !  the  blast  gaed  by 
And  missed  the  auld  anatomy ; 
It  just  cost  me  a  tooth,  forbye 

Discharging  her  annuity. 

If  there's  a  sough  of  cholera 

Or  typhus,  wha  sae  gleg  as  she  ? 

She  buys  up  baths  an'  drugs  an'  a' 
In  siccan  superfluity ! 


GEORGE    OUTRAM  273 

She  doesna  need — she's  fever  proof: 
The  pest  gaed  ower  her  very  roof. 
She  tauld  me  sae,  an'  then  her  loof 
Held  out  for  her  annuity. 

Ae  day  she  fell — her  arm  she  brak' — 
A  compound  fracture  as  could  be. 

Nae  leech  the  cure  wad  undertak' 
Whate'er  was  the  gratuity. 

It's  cured  !     She  handles't  like  a  flail : 

It  does  as  weel  in  bits  as  hale : 

But  I'm  a  broken  man  mysel' 
Wi'  her  an'  her  annuity. 

Her  broozled  flesh  and  broken  banes 
Are  weel  as  flesh  an'  banes  can  be ; 

She  beats  the  taeds  that  live  in  stanes, 
An'  fatten  in  vacuity. 

They  die  when  they're  exposed  to  air — 

They  canna  thole  the  atmosphere ; 

But  her  ! — expose  her  onywhere, 
She  lives  for  her  annuity. 

If  mortal  means  could  nick  her  thread 
Sma'  crime  it  wad  appear  to  me : 

Ca't  murder  or  ca't  homicide, 
I'd  justify't  an'  do  it  tae. 

But  how  to  fell  a  withered  wife 

That's  carved  out  o'  the  tree  o'  life ! 

The  timmer  limmer  daurs  the  knife 

To  settle  her  annuity. 
T 


274        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

I'd  try  a  shot ;  but  whare's  the  mark  ? 

Her  vital  parts  are  hid  frae  me ; 
Her  backbane  wanders  through  her  sark 

In  an  unkenned  corkscrewity. 
She's  palsified,  an'  shakes  her  heid 
Sae  fast  about  ye  scarce  can  see't ; 
It's  past  the  power  o'  steel  or  leid 

To  settle  her  annuity. 

She  might  be  drowned ;  but  go  she'll  not 
Within  a  mile  o'  loch  or  sea ; 

Or  hanged,  if  cord  could  grip  a  throat 
O'  siccan  exeguity. 

It's  fitter  far  to  hang  the  rope — 

It  draws  out  like  a  telescope : 

'Twad  tak'  a  dreadfu'  length  o'  drop 
To  settle  her  annuity. 

Will  pushion  do't  ?     It  has  been  tried. 

But,  be't  in  hash  or  fricassee, 
That's  just  the  dish  she  can't  abide, 

Whatever  kind  o'  gout  it  ha'e. 
It's  needless  to  assail  her  doubts, 
She  gangs  by  instinct,  like  the  brutes, 
An'  only  eats  and  drinks  what  suits 

Hersel'  an'  her  annuity. 

The  Bible  says  the  age  o'  man 

Three  score  and  ten  perchance  may  be. 
She's  ninety-four. — Let  them  wha  can 

Explain  the  incongruity. 


GEORGE   OUTRAM  275 

She  should  ha'e  lived  afore  the  flood ; 
She's  come  o'  patriarchal  blood ; 
She's  some  auld  pagan  mummified 
Alive  for  her  annuity. 

She's  been  embalmed  inside  and  out ; 

She's  sauted  to  the  last  degree  ; 
There's  pickle  in  her  very  snout, 

Sae  caper-like  an'  cruety. 
Lot's  wife  was  fresh  compared  to  her ; 
They've  kyanised  the  useless  knir;1 
She  canna  decompose  nae  mair 

Than  her  accursed  annuity. 

The  water-drap  wears  out  the  rock, 

As  this  eternal  jaud  wears  me  ; 
I  could  withstand  the  single  shock, 

But  not  the  continuity. 
It's  pay  me  here,  an'  pay  me  there, 
An'  pay  me,  pay  me  evermair ; 
I'll  gang  demented  wi'  despair — 

I'm  charged  for  her  annuity. 


Witch. 


DUGALD    MOORE 

1805-1841 

WHEN  "  Whistle-binkie "  was  being  put  together  from  the  pens  of 
Carrick,  Rodger,  Motherwell,  and  others  in  David  Robertson's  back 
shop  near  the  foot  of  Glassford  Street,  another  howf  of  men  of  literary 
and  artistic  taste  existed  not  far  away.  The  stationery  warehouse  of 
James  Lumsden  &  Son  in  Queen  Street  saw  the  comings  and  goings  of 
artists  like  Horatio  MacCulloch  and  Daniel  Macnee,  and  of  poets  like 
Andrew  Park  and  Dugald  Moore.  James  Lumsden,  first  of  the  name  to 
be  Lord  Provost,  was  a  warm  friend  of  struggling  talent.  MacCulloch 
and  Macnee  found  early  employment  with  him  in  the  tinting  of  illustra- 
tions, and  it  was  by  his  help  that  Moore  was  enabled  to  publish  his  first 
book  of  poetry,  i 

Dugald  Moore  was  the  son  of  James  Moore,  a  private  soldier,  who 
appears  to  have  been  related  to  Dr.  John  Moore,  the  author  of 
"Zeluco,"  and  his  more  famous  son,  the  hero  of  Corunna.2  The 
poet  was  born  in  Stockwell  Street,  I2th  August,  1805.  His  father, 
who  had  married  at  nineteen,  died  young;  but  his  mother,  Margaret 
Lamont,  of  Highland  descent,  was  a  woman  of  character,  and  managed 
to  give  her  two  sons  at  least  the  rudiments  of  education.  It  has  been 
said  that  Dugald  was  apprenticed  to  a  tobacco  manufacturer,  but  the 
family  account  runs  that  it  was  to  a  maker  of  combs.  Comb-making 
was  not  to  his  taste,  and  the  method  he  took  to  have  his  indentures 
cancelled  was  ingenious  enough.  He  never  made  a  comb  without 
breaking  one  or  two  of  the  teeth,  till  his  master  told  his  mother  she  had 
better  send  him  to  some  other  trade  where  good  eyesight  was  not 
required.  When  at  last  he  obtained  a  place  in  the  copperplate 


1  Dr.  Hedderwick,  in  "  Backward  Glances,"  gives  an  interesting  picture  and  some 
amusing  reminiscences  of  the  warm-hearted  Provost. 

2  See  page  26. 


DUGALD   MOORE  277 

printing  department  of  Messrs.  Lumsden  &  Son  he  found  himself  in  a 
congenial  atmosphere. 

By  Lumsden's  help,  as  already  stated,  Moore  was  enabled  to  publish 
"The  African  and  other  Poems"  in  1829.  The  book  ran  to  a  second 
edition  in  1830,  and  was  followed  in  rapid  succession  by  "Scenes 
from  the  Flood,  the  Tenth  Plague  and  other  Poems,"  "The  Bridal 
Night  and  other  Poems,"  "  The  Bard  of  the  North :  a  Series  of  Poetical 
Tales  illustrative  of  Highland  Scenery  and  Character,"  "The  Hour  of 
Retribution  and  other  Poems,"  and  "The  Devoted  One."  The  poet 
contributed  many  pieces,  besides,  to  the  Glasgow  Free  Press,  the 
Western  Literary  Journal,  and  other  periodicals.  On  the  proceeds 
of  his  earlier  volumes  he  was  able  to  start  in  business  for  himself  as  a 
bookseller  and  librarian  in  Queen  Street,  and  when  he  was  cut  off, 
after  three  days'  illness,  at  the  age  of  thirty-six,  he  left  a  small  com- 
petence for  his  mother.  In  the  manner  of  his  end  he  was  a  martyr  to  a 
mistake  of  surgery.  It  was  the  day  of  constant  venesection,  and  the 
poet,  laid  aside  by  a  slight  inflammation,  was  literally  bled  to  death  by 
his  doctor.  He  died  2nd  January,  1841. 

Moore  was  a  Freemason  and  was  never  married,  but  the  portrait  of 
a  lady  to  whom  he  was  attached  is  preserved,  with  that  of  himself  by 
Sir  Daniel  Macnee,  and  a  quantity  of  his  MSS.,  by  his  niece,  Mrs. 
David  Smith,  Glasgow.  The  portrait  shows  him  to  have  borne  a  con- 
siderable personal  resemblance  to  Robert  Burns.  His  early  death, 
after  accomplishing  so  much  promising  work,  excited  widely-felt  sym- 
pathy, and  he  was  lamented  by  a  large  circle  of  friends  and  admirers 
who  erected  to  his  memory  in  Glasgow  Necropolis  one  of  the  most 
notable  monuments  in  that  city  of  the  dead. 

In  his  own  day  Moore's  worth  as  a  poet  was  widely  acknowledged, 
but  his  merit  has  received  no  more  than  scant  justice  since  his  death. 
It  is  true  that  his  muse  had  little  turn  for  the  tender  and  domestic. 
His  arena  was  rather  that  of  mountain,  moor,  and  tempest.  But  his 
poetry  is  full  of  noble  and  fine  suggestion,  and  in  description  of 
nature  wild  and  free,  and  its  association  with  human  passion  of  the 
past,  he  has  many  passages  and  whole  poems  which  must  rank  among 
the  best.  His  finest  work  is  contained  in  "  The  Bard  of  the  North." 


278        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


TO  THE  VITRIFIED  FORT  IN  GLEN  NEVIS 

I  bend  in  wonder  o'er  the  living  fountains, 

Like  a  lone  spirit  of  the  cataract ; 
Or  gaze  athwart  Lochaber's  savage  mountains, 

Measuring  the  ern  on  her  majestic  track ; 
Or  with  the  hawk,  high  in  these  shadowy  regions, 

Nestle  amid  the  tempest  and  the  gleam 
Of  sunny  clouds  that,  ranged  in  glorious  legions, 

Float  onward  like  the  phantoms  of  a  dream. 

Fondly  I  list  the  far  and  wild  commotion 

Of  the  strong  wind,  as  o'er  the  hill  he  skiffs  ; 
Or  drink  the  music,  as  the  mighty  ocean 

Rings  like  the  voice  of  God  among  the  cliffs. 
In  joy  I  see  the  dim  waves  dance  and  brighten 

Around  the  marble  hem  of  many  an  isle, 
And  the  eternal  mountains  rise  and  whiten 

'Mid  light's  high  track  and  summer's  crimson  smile. 

But  ah  !  the  song  is  hushed  along  the  meadow ; 

Mute  is  the  shepherd's  pipe  upon  the  hill ; 
And  time  moves  o'er  our  deserts  like  a  shadow, 

Bidding  the  magic  of  the  harp  be  still. 
And  silence,  like  the  robe  of  death  or  slumber, 

Falls  round  the  green  sides  of  each  fairy  glen, 
And,  save  the  ruined  cot,  or  cairn's  grey  lumber, 

Nought  tells  that  Scotland's  valleys  had  their  men, 


DUGALD    MOORE  279 

Yes,  men  of  hardihood,  the  boast  of  story, 

Once  moved  in  pride  through  these  unpeopled  vales ; 
There  beauty  built  her  summer  bower,  and  glory 

Leaned  on  his  sword,  and  listened  to  her  tales  ; 
And  music  had  her  songs  that  will  not  wither — 

The  bard  his  harp-strings  and  prophetic  thought ; 
And  on  those  dreary  slopes  of  rock  and  heather 

The  voice  of  Cona  sang,  and  Fingal  fought. 

Aye,  and  a  thousand  plaided  clans  were  ready 

To  face  unscared  the  battle's  loudest  roar, 
And  fling  its  billows  back — as  firm  and  steady 

As  rocks  dash  out  the  sea-surge  from  the  shore. 
But  oh  !  the  days  are  changed  :  a  desert  meets  us, 

Instead  of  peopled  glens  and  laughing  eyes ; 
And  the  wild  hawk  or  wandering  eagle  greets  us 

With  dreary  yell,  in  place  of  love's  replies. 

A  wanderer  came — the  stern  claymore  was  wielded 

By  the  free  peasant  of  the  lonely  hill, 
Who,  rushing  from  his  mountain  eyrie,  shielded 

The  father  who  begat  him.     Fiercely  shrill 
His  war-cry  swept  the  crags — the  stranger  felt  it, 

And  vainly  braved  the  bonnet  and  the  targe  : 
The  boast  of  England  like  a  snow-wreath  melted 

Before  the  levelled  thunder  of  their  charge. 

Yet  vain  the  free-born  and  the  noble-hearted 

Hewed  'mid  the  bristling  steel  and  cannon's  roar  : 

The  light,  the  fire  of  Albyn's  tribes  departed 
In  the  red  tempest  of  Drummossie  Moor. 


280        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

In  vain  the  mighty  of  the  glens  defended 

Their  mountain  hearths — fell  treachery  was  nigh  : 

The  brave,  the  beautiful,  the  long-descended 
Vanished  like  starlights  when  the  sun  is  high. 

The  grey  hill  knows  them  not — the  hunter's  sheiling 

Stands  low  and  desolate  upon  the  brae ; 
The  sons  of  song,  the  breasts  of  worth  and  feeling, 

The  stately  of  the  glens,  have  passed  away. 
In  vain  the  summer  shines,  the  tempest  gathers  ; 

No  one  is  there  to  greet  them  in  the  strath  • 
Gone  to  the  glorious  spirits  of  their  fathers, 

The  plaided  sons  of  Scotia  sleep  in  death. 

Yes,  the  grey  bothy  and  our  towers  are  hoary ; 

No  more  the  hunters  gather  in  the  hall, 
To  rouse  the  red  deer  in  the  misty  corrie, 

Or  hit  the  falcon  by  the  waterfall. 
The  rising  beams  of  hope  may  come  and  gather 

O'er  other  lands — they  will  not  visit  us  : 
The  dark  stone  looking  through  the  silent  heather — 

That  fort — exclaims,  it  was  not  always  thus  ! 


HENRY    GLASSFORD    BELL 

1805-1874 

OF  the  friends  whom  "  Christopher  North"  took  very  evident  pleasure 
in  introducing  in  the  famous  Noctes  Ambrosiana  and  Dies  Boreales, 
none  is  more  kindly  mentioned  than  "Tallboys."  Henry  Glassford 
Bell,  who  figures  under  this  pseudonym,  and  who  was  then  a  young 
man  in  Edinburgh  studying  for  the  Bar,  remains  perhaps  the  most 
genial  personality  linking  the  Modern  Athens  of  the  time  of  Scott  with 
the  literary  and  social  Glasgow  of  a  later  day. 

His  father,  James  Bell,  was  a  Glasgow  advocate,  and  his  mother  was 
daughter  of  the  Rev.  John  Hamilton,  minister  of  Cathcart.  The  poet 
was  born  in  Glasgow,  but  when  he  was  six  years  of  age  the  family 
removed  to  Edinburgh,  and  he  was  educated  at  the  University  there. 
He  early  developed  a  faculty  for  a  life  of  letters.  Upon  leaving  college 
he  wrote,  for  Constable's  Miscellany,  a  "  Memoir  of  Mary  Queen  of 
Scots  "  in  two  volumes,  which  ran  through  several  editions,  and  was 
translated  into  several  languages.  At  the  same  time,  when  his  feelings 
were  warm  and  his  thoughts  full  of  the  subject,  he  produced  his  famous 
poem  on  the  hapless  queen.  And  in  1829  he  established  the  Edinburgh 
Literary  Journal,  which  he  edited  with  much  success  for  three  years. 
In  1831  appeared  his  first  volume  of  poetry — "Summer  and  Winter 
Hours."  In  the  following  year  he  published  "My  Old  Portfolio,"  a 
collection  of  pieces  in  prose  as  well  as  verse.  And  during  the  next 
thirty  years  poems,  essays,  tales,  and  law-papers  came  from  his  pen, 
till  the  whole  ran  to  twelve  volumes.  His  latest  work,  "Romances 
and  Minor  Poems,"  combining  the  fervour  of  youthful  feeling  with  the 
ripeness  of  maturer  thought,  set  the  seal  to  his  title  as  a  "maker."  It 
was  published  in  1866. 

His  life,  however,  was  not  only,  nor  even  mainly,  that  of  a  man  of 
Betters.  In  1832  he  was  admitted  as  an  advocate;  seven  years  later  he 
obtained  the  appointment  of  Sheriff- Substitute  of  Lanarkshire  ;  and  in 
1867,  when  the  Sheriff- Principal,  Sir  Archibald  Alison,  died,  Bell,  by  a 
somewhat  unusual  step,  was  promoted  to  the  post,  which  he  held  with 


282         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

the  highest  distinction  till  his  death.  His  original  appointment  of 
Sheriff-Substitute  was  owed  to  sheer  merit.  In  the  famous  trial  of  the 
Glasgow  cotton-spinners  for  conspiracy  he  was  a  junior  counsel  for  the 
defence,  and  he  got  up  the  details  of  his  case  with  so  much  ability  and 
painstaking  care  that  Sheriff  Alison  marked  him  for  his  next  vacancy. 
For  nearly  forty  years  he  filled  one  of  the  most  conspicuous  positions  in 
the  social  and  public  life  of  Glasgow,  an  eloquent  speaker  on  the  plat- 
form, and  most  interesting  and  charming  of  guests.  Among  other 
public  enterprises  he  took  a  large  share  in  establishing  in  1833  the 
Royal  Association  for  the  Promotion  of  the  Fine  Arts  in  Scotland. 

He  was  still  in  the  vigour  of  maturity  when  a  cancer  in  the  hand, 
brought  on  by  the  use  of  a  round-topped  walking-stick,  struck  him 
down,  and  he  died  ;th  January,  1874.  He  was  engaged  at  the  time  in 
editing  an  issue  of  the  poems  of  David  Gray.  Twice  married,  he  was 
survived  by  a  widow,  a  son,  and  three  daughters.  His  tomb  is  in  the 
nave  of  Glasgow  Cathedral,  and  a  full  account  of  his  career  was  printed 
in  the  Glasgow  Herald  ot  8th  January,  1874.1 

It  may  be  true,  as  has  been  said,  that  Henry  Glassford  Bell  was 
greater  as  a  man  than  as  a  poet.  As  Sheriff  he  was  known  not  less  for 
his  sound  judgment  and  thorough  knowledge  of  law  than  ior  his  personal 
character  of  sterling  worth.  He  was  no  palterer,  but  with  dignity, 
weight,  and  decision,  went  straight  to  his  point.  Ultimus  Romanorum 
he  has  been  called — "One  of  the  first  of  our  few  good  dramatic 
censors,  among  patrons  of  art  a  Maecenas,  of  Scottish  critics  of  poetry 
among  the  best  our  country  has  produced."  His  own  verse  has  the 
ring  of  health  and  sanity  in  it,  and  if  his  finest  poem,  "Mary  Queen 
of  Scots,"  presents  in  some  respects  a  conventional  view  of  the  heroine, 
the  picture  it  affords  has  enlisted  far-reaching  sympathy,  and  conveyed 
an  impression  of  the  unfortunate  queen  second  in  effect  only  to  that 
drawn  by  Sir  Walter  Scott.2 

1  A  number  of  personal  and  interesting  reminiscences  of  Bell  are  also  given  by 
Dr.  Hedderwick  in  his  "Backward  Glances." 

2  The  Sheriff  was  not  the  only  member  of  the  family  to  wield  a  poetic  pen.      His 
younger  sister,  Mrs.  Jane  Cross  Simpson,  was  a  frequent  contributor  of  poetry  to  the 
Edinburgh  Literary  Journal,  and  afterwards  published  several  volumes  of  prose 
and  verse.     The  fine  hymn,  "  Go  where  the  morning  shineth,"  was  her  production. 


HENRY  GLASSFORD   BELL     283 


MARY   QUEEN   OF  SCOTS 

I  looked  far  back  into  the  past,  and  lo  !  in  bright  array, 
I  saw,  as  in  a  dream,  the  forms  of  ages  passed  away. 

It  was  a  stately  convent,  with  its  old  and  lofty  walls, 

And  gardens  with  their  broad  green  walks,  where  soft  the 

footstep  falls ; 

And  o'er  the  antique  dial-stone  the  creeping  shadow  crept, 
And,  all  around,  the  noonday  light  in  drowsy  radiance  slept. 
No  sound  of  busy  life  was  heard,  save,  from  the  cloister  dim, 
The  tinkling  of  the  silver  bell,  or  the  sisters'  holy  hymn. 
And  there  five  noble  maidens  sat,  beneath  the  orchard  trees, 
In  that  first  budding  spring  of  youth,  when  all  its  prospects 

please ; 
And  little  recked  they,  when  they  sang,  or  knelt  at  vesper 

prayers, 
That  Scotland  knew  no  prouder  names — held  none  more 

dear  than  theirs ; 
And  little  even  the  loveliest  thought,  before  the  Virgin's 

shrine, 
Of  royal  blood,  and  high  descent  from  the  ancient  Stuart 

line. 

Calmly  her  happy  days  flew  on,  uncounted  in  their  flight, 
And,  as  they  flew,  they  left  behind  a  long-continued  light. 

The  scene  was  changed. — It  was  the  court,  the  gay  court  of 

Bourbon, 
Where,  'neath  a  thousand  silver  lamps  a  thousand  courtiers 

throng ; 


284        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

And  proudly  kindles  Henry's  eye,  well  pleased,  I  ween,  to 

see 

The  land  assemble  all  its  wealth  of  grace  and  chivalry. 
Gray  Montmorency,  o'er  whose  head  had  passed  a  storm  of 

years, 
Strong  in  himself  and  children,  stands  the  first  among  his 

peers. 
Next  him  the  Guises,  who  so  well  fame's  steepest  heights 

assailed, 
And  walked  ambition's  diamond  ridge,  where  bravest  hearts 

have  failed ; 
And  higher  yet  their  path  shall  be,  and  stronger  wax  their 

might, 
For  before  them  Montmorency's  star  shall  pale  its  waning 

light. 
There  too  the  Prince  of  Conde  wears  his  all  unconquered 

sword, 
With  great  Coligni  by  his  side, — each  name  a  household 

word ! 

And  there  walks  she  of  Medici,  that  proud  Italian  line, 
The  mother  of  a  race  of  kings,  the  haughty  Catherine ! 
The  forms  that  follow  in  her  train  a  glorious  sunshine  make, 
A  milky  way  of  stars  that  grace  a  comet's  glittering  wake. 
But  fairer  far  than  all  the  crowd  who  bask  on  fortune's 

tide, 

Effulgent  in  the  light  of  youth,  is  she,  the  new-made  bride  ! 
The  homage  of  a  thousand  hearts,  the  fond,  deep  love  of 

one, 
The  hopes  that  dance  around  a  life  whose  charms  are  but 

begun, 


HENRY  GLASSFORD   BELL     285 

They  lighten  up  her  chestnut  eye,  they  mantle  o'er  her 

cheek, 
They   sparkle   on  her   open   brow,   and    high-souled    joy 

bespeak. 
Ah !   who  shall  blame  if  scarce  that  day,  through  all  its 

brilliant  hours, 
She  thought  of  that  quiet  convent's  calm,  its  sunshine,  and 

its  flowers  ? 

The  scene  was  changed. — It  was  a  bark  that  slowly  held 

its  way, 
And  o'er  its  lee  the  coast  of  France  in  the  light  of  evening 

lay; 

And  on  its  deck  a  lady  sat,  who  gazed  with  tearful  eyes 
Upon  the  fast  receding  hills  that  dim  and  distant  rise. 
No  marvel  that  the  lady  wept :  there  was  no  land  on  earth 
She  loved  like  that  dear  land,  although  she  owed  it  not  her 

birth. 
It  was  her  mother's  land — the  land  of  childhood  and  of 

friends ; 
It   was  the  land  where  she  had  found  for  all  her  griefs 

amends ; 
The  land  where  her  dead  husband  slept;  the  land  where 

she  had  known 
The  tranquil  convent's  hushed  repose  and  the  splendours 

of  a  throne. 

No  marvel  that  the  lady  wept — it  was  the  land  of  France, 
The  chosen  home  of  chivalry,  the  garden  of  romance. 
The  past  was  bright,  like  those  dear  hills  so  far  behind  her 

bark; 


286        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

The  future,  like  the  gathering  night,  was  ominous  and  dark. 
One  gaze  again — one  last,  long  gaze  :  "Adieu,  fair  France, 

to  thee ! " 
The  breeze  comes  forth — she  is  alone  on  the  unconscious 

sea. 

The  scene  was  changed. — It  was  an  eve  of  raw  and  surly 

mood, 

And  in  a  turret-chamber  high  of  ancient  Holyrood 
Sat  Mary,  listening  to  the  rain,  and  sighing  with  the  winds 
That  seemed  to  suit  the  stormy  state  of  men's  uncertain 

minds. 
The  touch  of  care  had  blanched  her  cheek,  her  smile  was 

sadder  now ; 

The  weight  of  royalty  had  pressed  too  heavy  on  her  brow ; 
And  traitors  to  her  councils  came,  and  rebels  to  the  field ; 
The  Stuart  sceptre  well  she  swayed,  but  the  sword  she  could 

not  wield. 
She  thought  of  all  her   blighted  hopes — the  dreams   of 

youth's  brief  day, 
And  summoned  Rizzio  with  his  lute,  and  bade  the  minstrel 

play 
The   songs   she  loved   in   other  years,   the   songs   of  gay 

Navarre, 
The  songs,   perchance,   that   erst    were    sung  by  gallant 

Chatelar. 
They  half  beguiled  her  of  her  cares ;  they  soothed  her  into 

smiles ; 
They  won  her  thoughts  from  bigot  zeal  and  fierce  domestic 

broils. 


HENRY  GLASSFORD   BELL     287 

But  hark  !  the  tramp  of  armed  men !  the  Douglas  battle- 
cry ! 

They  come,  they  come !  and  lo !  the  scowl  of  Ruthven's 
hollow  eye ! 

Stern  swords  are  drawn,  and  daggers  gleam — her  words,  her 
prayers  are  vain — 

The  ruffian  steel  is  in  his  heart — the  faithful  Rizzio's  slain  ! 

Then  Mary  Stuart  brushed  aside  the  tears  that  trickling  fell : 

"  Now  for  my  father's  arm,"  she  said,  "  my  woman's  heart 
farewell ! " 


The  scene  was  changed. — It  was  a  lake,  with  one  small, 

lonely  isle 

And  there,  within  the  prison  walls  of  its  baronial  pile, 
Stern  men  stood  menacing  their  queen,  till  she  should  stoop 

to  sign 
The  traitorous  scroll  that  snatched  the  crown  from   her 

ancestral  line. 
"  My  lords,  my  lords  ! "  the  captive  cried,  "  were  I  but  once 

more  free, 
With  ten  good  knights  on  yonder  shore,  to  aid  my  cause 

and  me, 
That  parchment  would  I  scatter  wide  to  every  breeze  tha 

blows, 
And  once  more  reign  a  Stuart  queen  o'er  my  remorseless 

foes  ! " 
A  red  spot  burned  upon  her    cheek;   streamed  her  rich 

tresses  down ; 
She  wrote  the  words ;  she  stood  erect — a  queen  without  a 

crown ! 


288        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

The  scene  was  changed. — A  royal  host  a  royal  banner  bore ; 
The  faithful  of  the  land  stood  round  their  smiling  queen 

once  more. 

She  stayed  her  steed  upon  a  hill,  she  saw  them  marching  by, 
She  heard  their  shouts,  she  read  success  in  every  flashing  eye. 
The  tumult  of  the  strife  begins — it  roars — it  dies  away, 
And  Mary's  troops  and  banners  now,  and  courtiers — where 

are  they  ? 
Scattered,   and   strewn,   and    flying    far,   defenceless    and 

undone — 

0  God  !  to  see  what  she  has  lost,  and  think  what  guilt  has 

won ! 

Away,  away  !  thy  gallant  steed  must  act  no  laggard's  part ! 
Yet  vain  his  speed,  for  thou  dost  bear  the  arrow  in  thy 

heart. 

The  scene  was  changed. — Beside  the  block  a  sullen  heads- 
man stood, 

And  gleamed  the  broad  axe  in  his  hand,  that  soon  must 
drip  with  blood. 

With  slow  and  steady  step  there  came  a  lady  through  the 
hall, 

And  breathless  silence  chained  the  lips  and  touched  the 
hearts  of  all. 

Rich  were  the  sable  robes  she  wore,  her  white  veil  round 
her  fell, 

And  from  her  neck  there  hung  the  cross — that  cross  she 
loved  so  well ! 

1  knew  that  queenly  form  again,  though  blighted  was  its 

bloom ; 


HENRY  GLASSFORD  BELL    289 

I  saw  that  grief  had  decked  it  out,  an  offering  for  the  tomb. 
I  knew  the  eye,  though  faint  its  light,  that  once  so  brightly 

shone ; 
I  knew  the  voice,  though  feeble  now,  that  thrilled  with 

every  tone ; 

I  knew  the  ringlets,  almost  gray,  once  threads  of  living  gold ; 
I   knew  that   bounding  grace  of  step,  that  symmetry  of 

mould. 

Even  now  I  see  her  far  away,  in  that  calm  convent  aisle  ; 
I  hear  her  chant  her  vesper  hymn,  I  mark  her  holy  smile. 
Even  now  I  see  her  bursting  forth,  upon  her  bridal  morn, 
A  new  star  in  the  firmament,  to  light  and  glory  born. 
Alas,  the  change  !  she  placed  her  foot  upon  a  triple  throne, 
And  on  the  scaffold  now  she   stands,  beside   the   block, 

alone — 

The  little  dog  that  licks  her  hand,  the  last  of  all  the  crowd 
Who  sunned  themselves  beneath  her  glance,  and  round  her 

footsteps  bowed  ! 
Her  neck  is  bared — the  blow  is  struck — the  soul  has  passed 

away ! 

The  bright,  the  beautiful  is  now  a  bleeding  piece  of  clay  ! 
A  solemn  text !     Go  think  of  it  in  silence  and  alone, 
Then  weigh,  against  a  grain  of  sand,  the  glories  of  a  throne. 


V 


THOMAS    BRYDSON 

1806-1855 

BORN  in  Glasgow,  and  educated  at  Glasgow  and  Edinburgh  Universities, 
Thomas  Brydson  was  in  1839  ordained  minister  of  Levern  Chapel,  near 
Paisley,  and  in  1842  became  parish  minister  of  Kilmalcolm,  where  he 
remained  somewhat  of  a  recluse  till  his  sudden  death,  28th  January,  1855. 
While  a  probationer  he  contributed  to  the  Republic  of  Letters^  the 
Edinburgh  Literary  Journal ',  and  several  of  the  London  annuals.  In 
1829  he  published  a  volume  of  "  Poems,"  and  two  years  later  "  Pictures 
of  the  Past."  The  author  of  many  pleasant  pieces,  he  is  probably 
destined  to  be  remembered  by  a  single  fine  song.  It  contains  one 
perfect  line,  which  might  have  been  written  by  Keats. 


ALL  LOVELY   AND   BRIGHT 

All  lovely  and  bright,  'mid  the  desert  of  time, 
Seem  the  days  when  I  wandered  with  you ; 

Like  the  green  isles  that  swell  in  this  far  distant  clime 
On  the  deeps  that  are  trackless  and  blue. 

And  now  while  the  torrent  is  loud  on  the  hill, 

And  the  howl  of  the  forest  is  drear, 
I  think  of  the  lapse  of  our  own  native  rill — 

I  think  of  thy  voice  with  a  tear. 


THOMAS    BRYDSON  291 

The  light  of  my  taper  is  fading  away ; 

It  hovers  and  trembles  and  dies ; 
The  far  coming  morn  on  her  sea-paths  is  gray, 

But  sleep  will  not  come  to  mine  eyes. 

Yet  why  should  I  ponder,  or  why  should  I  grieve 
O'er  the  joys  that  my  childhood  has  known  ? 

We  may  meet  when  the  dew-flowers  are  fragrant  at  eve, 
As  we  met  in  the  days  that  are  gone. 


ANDREW    PARK 
1807-1863 

"WHEN  I  became  acquainted  with  Park  in  1856,"  says  Charles  Rogers 
in  his  "  Century  of  Scottish  Life,"  "  he  was  a  gentleman  at  large,  existing 
by  his  wits,  and  courted  for  his  society.  Of  an  agreeable  demeanour, 
and  always  apparelled  in  becoming  vestments,  he  was  presentable  at  any 
table,  and  he  dined  out  almost  daily.  His  home,  if  he  had  one,  must 
have  been  stored  sparingly,  for  his  works  sold  slowly,  and  he  would  not 
have  recourse  to  a  subscription." 

Born  at  Renfrew,  and  taught  in  the  parish  school  there,  the  poet 
enjoyed  only  two  sessions  at  Glasgow  University,  before,  in  his  fifteenth 
year,  he  entered  a  commission  warehouse  in  Paisley.  Five  years  later 
he  removed  to  Glasgow  as  salesman  in  a  hat  factory,  and  presently  he 
began  business  there  on  his  own  account.  In  this,  however,  like  many 
poets,  he  had  small  success.  The  furor  scribendi  was  upon  him. 
Before  leaving  Paisley  he  had  published  "The  Vision  of  Mankind,"  a 
poem  written  in  a  succession  of  sonnets.  And  in  1834  he  issued  another 
volume  of  poems,  "The  Bridegroom  and  the  Bride."  On  cholera 
breaking  out  in  the  city  he  sold  his  stock,  went  to  London,  and  made 
the  attempt  to  live  by  his  pen.  There  again  he  had  scant  satisfaction, 
and  after  several  years  of  effort  he  returned  to  Glasgow  in  1841. 

Dugald  Moore  was  then  recently  dead,  and  Park  bought  his  business, 
and  set  up  as  a  bookseller.  But  ill-luck  still  pursued  him,  and  he 
retired  finally  from  commercial  life.  In  1843  "  Silent  Love,"  his  most 
successful  work,  appeared,  professing  to  be  the  production  of  one  James 
Wilson,  druggist  in  Paisley.  Two  years  later  it  was  issued  again  in 
small  quarto,  beautifully  illustrated  by  Sir  Noel  Paton.  Altogether  his 
poetry  ran  to  twelve  volumes,  till  it  was  finally  issued  between  a  single 
pair  of  covers  by  Bogue,  London,  in  1854.  One  of  the  pieces  gives  an 
account  of  Queen  Victoria's  visit  to  Scotland  in  1842,  and  another, 
"  Veritas,"  contains  a  narrative  of  his  own  life  up  till  1849.  In  1856 
he  made  a  tour  to  Egypt  and  the  East,  and  in  the  following  year  pub- 
lished an  account  of  his  journey. 


ANDREW    PARK  293 

Park's  latter  days  were  probably  spent  somewhat  after  the  gentle- 
manly Bohemian  fashion  Rogers  has  described,  in  going  about  among 
his  friends  and  congenial  acquaintances,  by  whom,  there  is  evidence,  he 
was  much  honoured  and  admired.  When  he  died  in  Glasgow,  27th 
December,  1863,  two  hundred  mourners  followed  his  remains  to  Paisley 
Cemetery,  where  he  had  expressed  a  wish  to  be  buried  near  his  friend 
James  Fillans,  the  sculptor. 

Something  of  the  character  of  the  poet  is  illustrated  by  an  incident 
which  occurred  at  his  funeral.  After  the  obsequies,  several  of  the 
mourners  from  a  distance  betook  themselves  to  a  hotel  in  the  town, 
"About  thirty  or  forty  persons,"  says  Dr.  Hedderwick,  "might  be 
present.  Some  one,  however,  seemed  to  be  wanting  to  take  the  lead, 
and  an  old  crony  of  the  poet's  ventured  to  suggest  that  the  man  really 
wanted  was  poor  Park  himself.  '  Had  Park  only  been  here,'  he  said, 
'  he  would  have  introduced  everybody  to  everybody  else,  ordered  what- 
ever was  needful,  and  called  upon  us  all  to  drain  a  silent  glass  to  the 
memory  of  the  deceased.'  " 

Three  years  later  a  handsome  monument  and  bronze  bust  were  set  up 
over  the  poet's  grave. 


SILENT    LOVE 

Opening  Passage 

No  man  e'er  loved  like  me  !     When  but  a  boy 
Love  was  my  solace  and  my  only  joy ; 
Its  mystic  influence  fired  my  tender  soul, 
And  held  me  captive  in  its  soft  control. 
By  night  it  ruled  in  bright  ethereal  dreams, 
By  day  in  latent,  ever-varying  themes ; 
In  solitude,  or  'mid  the  city's  throng, 
Or  in  the  festal  halls  of  mirth  and  song ; 
Through  loss  or  gain,  through  quietude  or  strife, 
This  was  the  charm  the  heart-pulse  of  my  life, 


294         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

While  age  has  not  subdued  the  flame  divine, 
A  votary  still  I  worship  at  the  shrine. 
When  cares  enthral,  or  when  the  soul  is  free, 
JTis  all  the  same.     No  man  e'er  loved  like  me ! 

Oh!  she  was  young  who  won  my  yielding  heart. 
Nor  power  of  poesy,  nor  painter's  art 
Could  half  the  beauties  of  her  mind  portray, 
E'en  when  inspired,  and  how  can  this  my  lay  ? 
Two  eyes  that  spoke  what  language  ne'er  can  do, 
Soft  as  twin-violets  moist  with  early  dew ; 
And  on  her  cheek  the  lily  and  the  rose 
Blent  beauteously  in  halcyon  repose ; 
While  vermil  lips,  apart,  revealed  within 
Two  rows  of  pearls,  and  on  her  dimpled  chin 
The  Graces  smiled ;  a  bosom  heaved  below, 
Warm  as  the  sun,  but  pure  as  forest  snow. 
Her  copious  ringlets  hung  in  silken  trains 
O'er  alabaster  streaked  with  purpling  veins  ; 
Her  pencilled  eyebrows,  arching  fair  and  high 
O'er  lids  so  pure  they  scarcely  screened  the  eye. 
A  form  symmetral,  moving  forth  in  grace 
Like  heaven-made  Eve,  the  mother  of  our  race ; 
And  on  her  brow  benevolence  and  truth 
Were  chastely  throned  in  meek  perennial  youth  ; 
While  every  thought  that  had  creation  there 
But  made  her  face  still  more  divinely  fair ; 
And  every  fancy  of  her  soul  expressed 
On  that  fair  margin  what  inspired  her  breast, 
Pure  as  the  sunbeams  gild  the  placid  deep 
Where  zephyrs  close  their  wings  in  listless  sleep. 


ANDREW    PARK  295 

This  maiden  won  my  heart.     Oh,  it  is  vain 
To  say,  perhaps  hers  was  returned  again  ? 
To  say,  she  read  the  language  of  my  eyes, 
And  knew  my  thoughts,  unmingled  with  disguise  ? 
Is  it  too  much  to  say  that  eyes  reveal 
What  words  in  vain  but  struggle  to  conceal — 
That  silent  love  is  not  far  more  sincere 
Than  vaunting  vows,  those  harbingers  of  fear  ? 
Deep-rooted  veneration  breathes  no  sound. 
Back,  mortal,  back,  ye  stand  on  holy  ground ! 
Hid  in  the  heart's  recess,  like  precious  ore, 
It  lies  in  brilliant  beauty  at  the  core. 
Or  as  the  moon,  sweet  empress  of  the  night, 
Reflecting,  gives,  in  modest  mellowy  light, 
The  sun's  refracting  rays,  her  destined  part, 
So  genuine  feeling  steals  from  heart  to  heart. 
Laugh  not,  ye  sordid  sons,  ye  beings  cold, 
Who  measure  all  your  greatness  by  your  gold, 
Whose  marble  bosoms  never  once  could  feel 
What  friendship,  love,  and  sympathy  reveal. 
Learn  but  one  truth — 'twill  not  reduce  your  stores — 
Love  higher  than  your  gilded  riches  soars ; 
Your  demi-god  a  meaner  thing  must  be 
Than  Cupid  proves.     No  man  e'er  loved  like  me  ! 

Think  not  a  glance  too  transient  to  destroy 
The  calmness  of  the  mind  with  mingled  joy. 
Judge  for  yourselves,  but  make  no  strictures  here ; 
Set  no  mean  limits  to  its  hope  and  fear. 
Many  could  tell,  if  they  but  had  the  art, 
The  stirring  power  with  which  it  throbs  the  heart, 


296        THE   GLASGOW  POETS 

Thrills  every  nerve,  pursues  through  every  vein 
Its  path  electric  till  it  fires  the  brain, 
And  trembling  there  like  needle  to  the  pole, 
Strange  blushes  rise  in  crimson  from  the  soul — 
The  heaving  breast,  in  respiration  free, 
Convulsive  feels  with  innate  ecstacy. 


HURRAH    FOR   THE   HIGHLANDS 

Hurrah  for  the  Highlands  !  the  stem  Scottish  Highlands  ! 

The  home  of  the  clansman,  the  brave,  and  the  free ; 
Where  the  clouds  love  to  rest  on  the  mountain's  rough  breast, 

Ere  they  journey  afar  o'er  the  islandless  sea. 

'Tis  there  where  the  cataract  sings  to  the  breeze 

As  it  dashes  in  foam  like  a  spirit  of  light ; 
And  'tis  there  the  bold  fisherman  bounds  o'er  the  seas 

In  his  fleet  tiny  bark  through  the  perilous  night. 

'Tis  the  land  of  deep  shadow,  of  sunshine  and  shower, 
Where  the  hurricane  revels  in  madness  on  high  ; 

For  there  it  has  might  that  can  war  with  its  power, 
In  the  wild  dizzy  cliffs  that  are  cleaving  the  sky, 

I  have  trod  merry  England,  and  dwelt  on  its  charms ; 

I  have  wandered  through  Erin,  that  gem  of  the  sea ; 
But  the  Highlands  alone  the  true  Scottish  heart  warms ; 

Her  heather  is  blooming,  her  eagles  are  free. 


JOHN    STUART  BLACKIE 

1809-1895 

FOR  nearly  half  a  century  the  most  noted  figure  in  the  streets  of 
Edinburgh  was  that  of  Professor  Blackie.  With  his  bushy  white  hair 
and  clear-cut,  clean-shaven  features  instinct  with  a  witty  humour, 
with  soft  felt  hat,  and  Scots  plaid  always  on  his  shoulder,  he  was  as 
distinguished  in  appearance  as  he  was  brilliant  and  versatile  in  intellect. 
Edinburgh  has  long  claimed  him  as  her  own,  but  he  was  a  native  of 
Glasgow. 

His  father  was  a  banker,  and  while  the  son  was  still  young  the  family 
removed  to  Aberdeen.  At  Marischal  College  there,  at  Edinburgh 
University,  and  afterwards  at  Gottingen,  at  Berlin,  and  in  Italy,  the 
future  poet  pursued  education,  and,  having  given  up  his  first  idea  of 
the  ministry,  he  was  called  to  the  Scottish  Bar  in  1834.  In  1841  he 
was  appointed  Professor  of  Humanity  at  Marischal  College,  and  eleven 
years  later  was  elected  to  the  chair  of  Greek  at  Edinburgh.  It  was 
characteristic  of  the  man  that  he  spent  many  months  of  the  following 
summer  in  Greece  in  order  to  acquire  a  fluent  use  of  the  language  as  it 
is  now  spoken. 

From  that  time  onward  Blackie's  life  was  that  of  the  busy  scholar, 
teacher,  and  writer.  He  had  already  published  a  notable  translation 
of  Goethe's  "  Faust,"  and  a  version  of  the  plays  of  ^Eschylus.  In  1857 
he  issued  "Lays  and  Legends  of  Ancient  Greece,"  three  years  later 
"Lyrical  Poems,"  partly  in  Latin,  and  in  1866  a  work  on  "Homer 
and  the  Iliad,"  including  a  translation  of  the  great  epic  in  ballad 
measure,  which  remains  his  greatest  performance.  Of  his  later  poetical 
works  the  most  notable  were  "  Musa  Burschicosa,"  a  volume  of  songs 
for  students;  "War  Songs  of  the  Germans,"  issued  during  the  Franco- 
Prussian  war  in  1870;  "  Lays  of  the  Highlands  and  Islands"  in  1872; 


298         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

and  "Songs  of  Religion  and  Life"  in  1876.  His  "Messis  Vitse" 
appeared  in  1886,  and  "  A  Song  of  Heroes  "  in  1890.  His  prose  works 
included  a  treatise  "On  Beauty"  in  1858,  "The  Four  Phases  of 
Morals,"  a  volume  on  "  Self-culture  " — by  far  his  most  widely  circulated 
work,  "full  of  the  wisdom  of  life,  ripe  and  true" — a  collection  of 
philological  papers,  "Horse  Hellenicse"  in  1874,  and  an  elaborate 
work  on  "The  Language  and  Literature  of  the  Highlands"  in  1876. 

After  championing  many  causes,  and  upholding  many  theories  with 
tongue  and  pen,  he  became  identified  latterly  with  the  advocacy  of  the 
founding  of  a  Celtic  professorship  at  Edinburgh — a  project  which  was 
at  length  crowned  with  success.  An  enthusiast  for  the  memories  and 
scenery  of  the  Highlands,  he  spent  his  summers  at  Oban  till  the  railway 
reached  the  spot,  upon  which  "desecration"  he  fled.  Some  of  his 
translations  of  Gaelic  songs,  such  as  "Ho  ro  my  nut-brown  maiden," 
have  long  been  extremely  popular. 

Active  with  tongue  and  pen  almost  to  his  last  hour,  he  died  at  his 
house  in  Edinburgh,  2nd  March,  1895,  and  was  buried  with  full 
academic  honours,  the  pipers  of  the  Black  Watch  playing  before  the 
bier  from  St.  Giles'  Cathedral  to  the  Dean  Cemetery. 

An  official  biography  by  Miss  Anna  M.  Stoddart  was  published  by 
Messrs.  Blackwood  in  1895,  an<^  a  volume  of  "Selected  Poems"  was 
edited,  with  an  eloquent  appreciation,  by  Professor  Blackie's  nephew, 
Dr.  A.  Stoddart  Walker,  in  1896.  The  following  pieces  are  included 
here  by  kind  permission  of  the  poet's  executors. 


A   SONG   OF  THE   COUNTRY 

Away  from  the  roar  and  the  rattle, 

The  dust  and  the  din  of  the  town, 
Where  to  live  is  to  brawl  and  to  battle 

Till  the  strong  treads  the  weak  man  down  ! 
Away  to  the  bonnie  green  hills 

Where  the  sunshine  sleeps  on  the  brae, 
And  the  heart  of  the  greenwood  thrills 

To  the  hymn  of  the  bird  on  the  spray. 


JOHN   STUART   BLACKIE       299 

Away  from  the  smoke  and  the  smother, 

The  veil  of  the  dun  and  the  brown, 
The  push  and  the  plash  and  the  pother, 

The  wear  and  the  waste  of  the  town  ! 
Away  where  the  sky  shines  clear, 

And  the  light  breeze  wanders  at  will, 
And  the  dark  pine-wood  nods  near 

To  the  light-plumed  bird  on  the  hill. 

Away  from  the  whirling  and  wheeling, 

And  steaming  above  and  below, 
Where  the  heart  has  no  leisure  for  feeling, 

And  the  thought  has  no  quiet  to  grow. 
Away  where  the  clear  brook  purls, 

And  the  hyacinth  droops  in  the  shade, 
And  the  plume  of  the  fern  unfurls 

Its  grace  in  the  depth  of  the  glade. 

Away  to  the  cottage  so  sweetly 

Embowered  'neath  the  fringe  of  the  wood, 
Where  the  wife  of  my  bosom  shall  meet  me 

With  thoughts  ever  kindly  and  good  : 
More  dear  than  the  wealth  of  the  world, 

Fond  mother  with  bairnies  three, 
And  the  plump-armed  babe  that  has  curled 

Its  lips  sweetly  pouting  for  me. 

Then  away  from  the  roar  and  the  rattle, 

The  dust  and  din  of  the  town, 
Where  to  live  is  to  brawl  and  to  battle, 

Till  the  strong  treads  the  weak  man  down ! 


300        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Away  where  the  green  twigs  nod 
In  the  fragrant  breath  of  the  May, 

And  the  sweet  growth  spreads  on  the  sod, 
And  the  blythe  birds  sing  on  the  spray. 


CHINESE   GORDON 

Some  men  live  near  to  God,  as  my  right  arm 
Is  near  to  me,  and  thus  they  walk  about 

Mailed  in  full  proof  of  faith,  and  bear  a  charm 
'  That  mocks  at  fear,  and  bars  the  door  on  doubt, 

And  dares  the  impossible.     So,  Gordon,  thou, 
Through  the  hot  stir  of  this  distracted  time, 

Dost  hold  thy  course,  a  flaming  witness  how 
To  do  and  dare,  and  make  our  lives  sublime 

As  God's  campaigners.     What  live  we  for  but  this — 
Into  the  sour  to  breathe  the  soul  of  sweetness, 
The  stunted  growth  to  rear  to  fair  completeness, 

Drown  sneers  in  smiles,  kill  hatred  with  a  kiss, 
And  to  the  sandy  waste  bequeath  the  fame 
That  the  grass  grew  behind  us  where  we  came ! 


WILLIAM  MILLER 

1810-1872 

WHEN  the  Rev.  George  Gilfillan,  then  in  the  height  of  his  fame,  was 
giving  one  of  his  popular  lectures  in  Glasgow  City  Hall,  he  took 
occasion  to  refer  to  "  Willie  Winkie,"  and  described  it  in  characteristic 
fashion  as  "  the  greatest  nursery  song  in  the  world."  He  was  greatly 
surprised  at  the  close  of  the  lecture,  on  leaving  the  hall,  to  be  accosted 
by  a  tall  old  man,  who  informed  him,  with  moist  eyes,  that  he  was 
William  Miller,  the  author  of  the  song  the  lecturer  had  so  warmly 
praised. 

Gilfillan's  description  is  supported  by  the  opinion  of  another  critic, 
himself  a  great  poet.  Robert  Buchanan  declared  Miller  to  be  "the 
Laureate  of  the  Nursery,"  adding,  "  There,  at  least,  he  reigns  supreme 
above  all  other  poets,  monarch  of  all  he  surveys,  and  perfect  master  of 
his  theme." 

The  author  of  "  Willie  Winkie"  was  born  in  Briggate,  Glasgow,  in 
August,  1810,  but  spent  his  early  years  at  Parkhead,  then  a  rural 
village  east  of  the  city.  It  was  intended  at  first  to  make  him  a  surgeon, 
but  a  severe  illness  at  the  age  of  sixteen  forced  him  to  cease  study,  and 
he  was  apprenticed  to  a  wood- turner.  In  that  craft  his  skill  became 
famous,  and  in  his  latter  days  few,  it  is  said,  could  approach  him  either 
in  speed  or  excellence  of  work.  He  began  early  to  contribute  poetry  to 
periodicals,  but  it  was  the  appearance  of  "Willie  Winkie,"  "John 
Frost,"  and  "The  Sleepy  Bairn,"  in  the  third  and  fourth  series  of 
"  Whistle -binkie,"  that  established  his  reputation.  During  the  next 
thirty  years  of  his  life  Miller  wrote  but  little.  He  did  not  even  collect  his 
productions  into  a  volume  till  1863,  when  they  appeared  in  a  thin  quarto 
under  the  title  of  "  Scottish  Nursery  Songs  and  Poems."  It  was  only 


302         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

at  the  close  of  1871,  when  poor  health  forced  him  to  leave  work,  that, 
by  his  own  fireside,  he  turned  again  to  the  making  of  verse.  But  he  was 
then  a  dying  man.  A  few  weeks  at  Blantyre  in  July,  1872,  did  not 
restore  him,  and  he  expired  at  his  son's  house  in  Glasgow  on  2Oth 
August.  He  was  buried  at  Tollcross,  but  a  monument  was  set  up  to 
his  memory  in  Glasgow  Necropolis.  Some  of  the  unpublished  pro- 
ductions of  his  later  years  were  printed  in  Grant  Wilson's  "  Poets  and 
Poetry  of  Scotland,"  and  a  new  edition  of  his  work  has  been  edited  by 
Mr.  Robert  Ford  in  1902.  Miller  was  a  poet  of  a  single  string,  and 
the  entire  bulk  of  his  verse  is  small,  but  that  verse  stands  alone,  perfect 
of  its  kind. 


WILLIE   WINKIE 

Wee  Willie  Winkie  rins  through  the  toun, 
Up  stairs  and  doun  stairs  in  his  nicht  goun, 
Tirlin'  at  the  window,  cryin'  at  the  lock, 
"  Are  the  weans  in  their  bed,  for  it's  now  ten  o'clock  ?  " 

"  Hey,  Willie  Winkie,  are  ye  comin'  ben  ? 
The  cat's  singin'  grey  thrums  to  the  sleepin'  hen, 
The  dog's  speldert  on  the  floor,  and  doesna  gie  a  cheep, 
But  here's  a  waukrife  laddie  that  winna  fa'  asleep." 

Onything  but  sleep,  you  rogue,  glowerin'  like  the  moon, 
Rattlin'  in  an  aim  jug  wi'  an  aim  spoon, 
Rumblin',  tumblin'  roun'  about,  crawin'  like  a  cock, 
Skirlin'  like  a  kenna-what,  waukenin'  sleepin'  folk. 

"  Hey,  Willie  Winkie,  the  wean's  in  a  creel, 
Wamblin'  aff  a  body's  knee  like  a  very  eel, 
Ruggin'  at  the  cat's  lug,  and  ravelin'  a'  her  thrums — 
Hey,  Willie  Winkie — see  there  he  comes  !" 


WILLIAM    MILLER  303 

Wearied  is  the  mither  that  has  a  stourie  wean, 

A  wee  stumpie  stousie  that  canna  rin  his  lane, 

That  has  a  battle  aye  wi'  sleep  afore  he'll  close  an  e'e ; 

But  a  kiss  frae  aff  his  rosy  lips  gies  strength  anew  to  me. 

JOHN  FROST 

You've  come  early  to  see  us  this  year,  John  Frost, 
Wi'  your  Crispin'  and  poutherin'  gear,  John  Frost, 

For  hedge,  tower,  and  tree,  as  far  as  I  see, 
Are  as  white  as  the  bloom  o'  the  pear,  John  Frost. 

You've  been  very  preceese  wi'  your  wark,  John  Frost, 
Although  ye  ha'e  wrought  in  the  dark,  John  Frost, 

For  ilka  fitstap,  frae  the  door  to  the  slap, 
Is  braw  as  a  new  linen  sark,  John  Frost. 

There  are  some  things  about  ye  I  like,  John  Frost, 
And  ithers  that  aft  gar  me  fyke,  John  Frost, 

For  the  weans  wi'  cauld  taes,  crying,  "  Shoon,  stockings, 

claes," 
Keep  us  busy  as  bees  in  the  byke,  John  Frost. 

And  to  tell  you  I  winna  be  blate,  John  Frost, 

Our  gudeman  stops  out  whiles  rather  late,  John  Frost, 

And  the  blame's  put  on  you  if  he  gets  a  thocht  fu', 
He's  sae  fleyed  for  the  slippery  lang  gate,  John  Frost. 

Ye  ha'e  fine  goin's-on  in  the  North,  John  Frost, 
Wi'  your  houses  o'  ice,  and  so  forth,  John  Frost, 

Though  their  kirn's  on  the  fire  they  may  kirn  till  they  tire, 
But  their  butter — pray  what  is  it  worth,  John  Frost  ? 


304        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Now  your  breath  wad  be  greatly  improven,  John  Frost, 
By  a  whilock  in  some  baker's  oven,  John  Frost, 

Wi'  het  scones  for  a  lunch,  and  a  horn  o'  rum  punch, 
Or  wi'  gude  whisky-toddy  a'  stovin',  John  Frost. 


THE   SLEEPY   LADDIE 

Are  ye  no  gaun  to  wauken  the  day,  ye  rogue  ? 
Your  parritch  is  ready  and  cool  in  the  cog ; 
-Auld  baudrons  sae  gaucy,  and  Tam  o'  that  ilk, 
Wad  fain  ha'e  a  drap  o'  the  wee  laddie's  milk. 

There's  a  wee  bird  singin'  "  Get  up,  get  up  !  " 
Losh  !  listen,  it  cries,  "  Tak'  a  whup,  tak'  a  whup  !  " 
But  I'll  kittle  his  bosie — a  far  better  plan— 
Or  pouther  his  pow  wi'  a  waterin'-can. 

There's  claes  to  wash,  and  the  house  to  redd, 
And  I  canna  begin  till  I  mak'  the  bed ; 
For  I  count  it  nae  brag  to  be  clever  as  some 
Wha,  while  thrang  at  a  bakin',  can  soop  the  lum. 

It's  nine  o'clock,  and  father,  ye  ken, 

Has  scrimpitly  time  a  minute  to  spen' ; 

But  a  blink  o'  his  wifie,  and  bairn  on  her  knee, 

Aye  lightens  his  toil,  though  sair  it  may  be. 

So  get  up  to  your  parritch,  and  on  wi'  your  claes ! 
There's  a  fire  on  might  warm  the  Norlan'  braes ; 
For  a  parritch  cog  and  a  clean  hearth-stane 
Are  saut  and  sucker  in  our  town-en', 


ALEXANDER    HUME 
1811-1859 

IT  will  hardly  be  gainsaid  that  Burns's  fine  song  "  Afton  Water  '  owes 
as  much  of  its  popularity  to  the  beautiful  air  to  which  it  is  sung  as  it 
does  to  the  words  themselves.  That  air,  with  not  a  few  others  in  our 
Scottish  song-books,  was  the  composition  ol  Alexander  Hume,  the 
musician-poet.  A  man  of  the  highest  gifts,  he  was  one  of  the  saddest- 
fated  of  the  sons  of  song.  Born  in  Edinburgh  7th  February,  1811,  he 
was,  to  begin  with,  a  chairmaker,  and  for  a  time,  while  a  young 
man,  lived  in  Dundee.  He  soon,  however,  developed  a  strong 
natural  genius  for  music,  and  his  self-taught  efforts  brought  him  into 
mark.  He  became  a  tenor  chorister  in  St.  Paul's  Episcopal  Church, 
Edinburgh,  and  chorus-master  at  the  theatre,  and  in  1843  was  entrusted 
with  the  joint  editorship  of  Messrs.  Gall  &  Son's  "  British  Psalmody," 
to  which  he  contributed  a  number  of  fine  tunes.  Convivial  habits, 
however,  lost  him  one  appointment  after  another,  and  removing  to 
Glasgow,  he  led  a  precarious  existence  on  the  products  of  his  pen. 
Some  of  his  finest  songs  were  written  in  most  unlikely  circumstances. 
He  ceased  living  with  his  family,  and,  his  health  giving  way,  he  died  in 
Glasgow,  4th  February,  1859.  Paradoxically  enough,  five  years  before 
his  death  he  won  the  prize  of  the  Edinburgh  Abstainers'  Musical 
Association  by  his  madrigal,  "  Round  a  Circle,"  a  piece  of  solid  merit. 
His  poems  and  musical  compositions  have  never  been  collected,  but  a 
considerable  list  of  them  is  given  in  Mr.  David  Baptie's  valuable 
compendium,  "Musical  Scotland."  A  vivid  account  of  Hume  was 
furnished  by  Tom  Elliott  in  an  article  on  James  Macfarlan  in  the 
Ulster  Magazine  for  January,  1863. 
X 


306        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 


THE   SCOTTISH    EMIGRANT'S   FAREWELL 

Fareweel,  fareweel,  my  native  hame, 

Thy  lanely  glens  and  heath-clad  mountains  ! 
Fareweel  thy  fields  o'  storied  fame, 

Thy  leafy  shaws  and  sparkling  fountains. 
Nae  mair  I'll  climb  the  Pentlands  steep, 

Nor  wander  by  the  Esk's  clear  river ; 
.  I  seek  a  hame  far  o'er  the  deep — 

My  native  land,  fareweel  for  ever  ! 

Thou  land  wi'  love  and  freedom  crowned, 

In  ilk  wee  cot  and  lordly  dwelling 
May  manly-hearted  youth  be  found, 

And  maids  in  every  grace  excelling. 
The  land  where  Bruce  and  Wallace  wight 

For  freedom  fought  in  days  o'  danger, 
Ne'er  crouched  to  proud  usurping  might, 

But  foremost  stood,  wrong's  stern  avenger. 

Though  far  frae  thee,  my  native  shore, 

And  tossed  on  life's  tempestuous  ocean, 
My  heart — aye  Scottish  to  the  core — 

Shall  cling  to  thee  wi'  warm  devotion. 
And  while  the  waving  heather  grows, 

And  onward  rows  the  winding  river, 
The  toast  be  "  Scotland's  broomy  knowes, 

Her  mountains,  rocks,  and  glens  forever  ! " 


ALEXANDER   HUME  307 


MY    AIN    DEAR    NELL 

0  bonnie  Nellie  Brown,  I  will  sing  a  song  to  thee ! 
Though  oceans  wide  between  us  row  ye'll  aye  be  dear  to  me ; 
Though  mony  a  year's  gane  o'er  my  head  since  down  in 

Linton's  dell 

1  took  my  last  fond  look  o'  thee,  my  ain  dear  Nell. 

Oh,  tell  me,  Nellie  Brown,  do  you  mind  our  youthfu'  days, 
When  we  ran  about  the  burnie's  side,  or  speeled  the  gowany 

braes, 
When   I  pu'd  the  craw-pea's   blossom   and  the  bloomin' 

heather-bell, 
To  twine  them  round  thy  bonnie  brow,  my  ain  dear  Nell  ? 

How  often,  Nellie  Brown,  ha'e  we  wandered  o'er  the  lea, 

Where  grow  the  brier,  the  yellow  broom,  and  flowery  haw- 
thorn tree, 

Or  sported  'mang  the  leafy  woods  till  nicht's  lang  shadows 
fell! 

Oh,  we  ne'er  had  thochts  o'  partin'  then,  my  ain  dear  Nell ! 

And  in  winter,  Nellie  Brown,  when  the  nichts  were  lang  and 
drear, 

We  would  creep  down  by  the  ingleside,  some  fairy  tale  to 
hear. 

We  caredna  for  the  snawy  drift,  or  nippin'  frost  sae  snell, 

For  we  lived  but  for  each  other  then,  my  ain  dear  Nell, 


308        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

They  tell  me,  Nellie  Brown,  that  your  bonnie  raven  hair 
Is  s naw-wriite  now,  and  that  your  brow,  sae  cloudless  ance, 

and  fair, 
Looks  careworn  now,  and  unco  sad ;  but  I  heedna'  what 

they  tell, 
For  I  ne'er  can  think  you're  changed  to  me,  my  ain  dear 

Nell! 

Ance  mair,  then,  Nellie  Brown,  I  ha'e  sung  o'  love  and  thee, 
Though  oceans  wide  between  us  row,  ye're  aye  the  same  to 

me 

As  when  I  sighed  my  last  farewell  in  Linton's  flowery  dell — 
Oh,  I  ne'er  can  tine  my  love  for  thee,  my  ain  dear  Nell ! 


NORMAN    MACLEOD 

1812-1872 

Two  hundred  years  after  Zachary  Boyd,  the  minister  of  the  Barony  was 
again  a  poet.  He  was  also  the  greatest  Scottish  churchman  of  his 
time.  Descended  from  a  race  of  ministers  which  for  two  generations 
held  the  manse  of  Morven,  his  father  was  author  of  the  famous  "  Fare- 
well to  Fiunary,"  and  his  mother  of  the  stirring  "  Sound  the  Pibroch." 
There  were  proclivities,  therefore,  in  the  blood.  The  future  minister  of  the 
Barony  was  born  in  his  father's  manse  at  Campbeltown,  3rd  June,  1812, 
and  was  educated  atGlasgowand  Edinburgh  Universities  and  in  Germany. 
At  Edinburgh  he  was  Dr.  Chalmers's  favourite  student.  In  1838,  on 
being  licensed,  he  became  parish  minister  of  Loudon,  and  at  the 
Disruption  five  years  later  he  was  transferred  to  Dalkeith.  There  his 
powers  attracted  notice  ;  he  became  editor  of  the  Edinburgh  Christian 
Magazine,  and  in  1846  was  sent  to  Canada  on  Church  affairs  by  the 
General  Assembly.  Five  years  later  he  became  minister  of  the  Barony 
parish  of  Glasgow.  His  church  was  said  to  be  the  ugliest  in  Scotland, 
but  Sunday  after  Sunday,  year  after  year,  it  was  thronged  by  his  eager 
audiences.  His  Sunday  evening  services  for  people  in  working  clothes 
were  immensely  successful,  and  when  he  preached  before  Queen  Victoria 
at  Crathie  in  1854  she  became  his  lifelong  friend.  He  was  appointed  a 
Dean  of  the  Chapel  Royal,  Holyrood,  Dean  of  the  Order  of  the 
Thistle,  and  one  of  the  Queen's  Chaplains  for  Scotland.  In  1858  also 
he  received  the  degree  ot  D.  D.  A  strong  man  mentally  and  physically, 
no  labour  seemed  too  great  for  him. 

Besides  attending  to  his  arduous  parish  work,  he  used  a  busy  pen. 
In  1854  appeared  his  "Earnest  Student" — memorials  of  his  friend  John 
Macintosh  ;  when  Good  Words  was  established  in  1 860  he  became  its 
editor  ;  and  in  its  pages  and  elsewhere  a  constant  succession  of  his 
works  saw  the  lie;ht.  Of  his  tales,  the  most  popular  remain  "  The 


310        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Starling"  and  "The  Old  Lieutenant  and  his  Son."  At  the  same 
time,  with  tongue  and  pen,  throughout  the  country,  he  kept  rousing 
enthusiasm  for  the  undertakings  of  the  Church.  An  attempt  to  bring 
him  to  judgment  in  1865  for  broad  views  on  Sunday  observance  roused 
much  excitement,  but  broke  down  ;  and  two  years  later  the  General 
Assembly  sent  him  to  report  on  its  mission  field  in  India.  From  the 
heat  and  labour  of  that  journey  he  never  recovered.  In  the  following 
year  he  was  elected  by  acclamation  Moderator  of  the  General  Assembly, 
but  already  he  was  a  failing  man.  He  died  i6th  June,  1872,  and  was 
buried  in  Campsie  churchyard.  His  death  was  felt  to  be  a  national  loss ; 
he  must  be  recognised  as  one  of  the  greatest  broadeners  of  the  modern 
thought  of  Scotland.  A  Life  by  his  brother,  Dr.  Donald  Macleod, 
was  published  in  1876. 

Socially,  in  private  and  public,  Macleod,  with  his  fine  humour,  never 
failed  to  strike  a  happy  note.  Some  anecdotes  of  him  are  given  in  Dr. 
Hedder wick's  "Backward  Glances."  At  a  private  dinner  he  told  of 
a  dispute  between  a  Churchman  and  a  Dissenter.  "  There  can  be  no 
truth  in  Dissent,"  said  the  Churchman,  "because  Dissenters  are  never 
even  mentioned  in  the  Bible."  "What  !"  cried  the  Dissenter,  "did 
you  never  read  of  the  seceders  of  Lebanon?"  Again,  at  the  Scott 
Centenary  Banquet,  in  Glasgow  City  Hall,  after  Henry  Monteith, 
the  Marquis  of  Bute,  Sheriff  Bell,  and  others  had  said  their  best,  the 
climax  was  reached,  and  the  whole  audience  touched  and  thrilled,  by 
Macleod's  description  of  Sir  Walter's  *'  heroic  and  superhuman  effort, 
in  old  age,  with  enfeebled  health  and  shattered  nerves,  to  repay  the 
prodigious  debt  in  which  he  had  become  involved — a  debt  over- 
whelming to  him,  but  which  would  not  have  cost  some  gentlemen  on 
that  platform  a  night's  sleep" 


DANCE,   MY   CHILDREN 

"  Dance,  my  children,  lads  and  lasses  ! 

Cut  and  shuffle,  toes  and  heels  ! 
Piper,  roar  from  every  chanter 
Hurricanes  of  Highland  reels  ! 


NORMAN    MACLEOD  311 

"  Make  the  old  barn  shake  with  laughter, 

Beat  its  flooring  like  a  drum, 
Batter  it  with  Tullochgorum 
Till  the  storm  without  is  dumb. 

"  Sweep  in  circles  like  a  whirlwind, 

Flit  across  like  meteors  glancing, 
Crack  your  fingers,  shout  in  gladness, 
Think  of  nothing  but  of  dancing !  " 

Thus  a  grey-haired  father  speaketh, 
While  he  claps  his  hands  and  cheers ; 

Yet  his  heart  is  quietly  dreaming, 
And  his  eyes  are  dimmed  with  tears. 

Well  he  knows  this  world  of  sorrow, 

Well  he  knows  this  world  of  sin, 
Well  he  knows  the  race  before  them — 

What's  to  lose  and  what's  to  win. 

But  he  hears  a  far-off  music 

Guiding  all  the  stately  spheres ; 
In  his  father-heart  it  echoes, 

So  he  claps  his  hands  and  cheers. 


TRUST   IN   GOD 

Courage,  brother !  do  not  stumble, 
Though  thy  path  be  dark  as  night ; 

There's  a  star  to  guide  the  humble : 
"  Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 


312        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Let  the  road  be  long  and  dreary, 
And  its  ending  out  of  sight ; 

Foot  it  bravely,  strong  or  weary : 
"Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 

Perish  policy  and  cunning  ! 

Perish  all  that  fears  the  light ! 
Whether  losing,  whether  winning, 

"  Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 

Trust  no  forms  of  guilty  passion  ; 

Fiends  can  look  like  angels  bright ; 
Trust  no  custom,  school,  or  fashion  ; 

"Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right !" 

Trust  no  party,  church,  or  faction ; 

Trust  no  leaders  in  the  fight ; 
But  in  every  word  and  action 

"  Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 

Some  will  hate  thee,  some  will  love  thee, 
Some  will  flatter,  some  will  slight ; 

Cease  from  man,  and  look  above  thee : 
"  Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 

Simple  rule  and  safest  guiding; 

Inward  peace  and  inward  light ; 
Star  upon  our  path  abiding  : 

"  Trust  in  God,  and  do  the  right ! " 


JAMES    HEDDERWICK 

1814-1897 

BETWEEN  the  years  1840  and  1880  literary  genius  in  Glasgow  and  the 
West  of  Scotland  owed  more  to  the  fine  lettered  taste  and  enterprise 
of  James  Hedderwick  than  to  anything  else.  In  his  publications 
Alexander  Smith,  Hu^h  Macdonald,  David  Wingate,  David  Gray, 
James  Macfarlan,  William  Black,  and  others,  all  found  their  first 
audience  and  road  to  fame.  He  is  entitled  to  affectionate  remem- 
brance, therefore,  not  only  as  a  poet  himself,  but  as  a  Maecenas  of 
poets  in  his  time. 

Born  in  Glasgow,  1 8th  January,  1814,  he  was  early  apprenticed  to 
the  business  of  his  father,  who  was  afterwards  Queen's  printer  in  the 
city,  and  who  believed  the  printing  office  an  excellent  school.  Even 
as  a  boy,  however,  he  had  a  strong  literary  bent,  and  on  one  occasion 
made  a  pilgrimage  to  Edinburgh  to  see  Sir  Walter  Scott  sitting  as 
Clerk  ot  the  Court  of  Session.  At  the  age  of  sixteen  he  spent  a  year 
at  London  University,  won  first  prize  in  the  Belles  Lettres  class,  and 
read  Shakespeare  with  Charles  Kemble.  On  returning  to  Glasgow, 
while  still  in  his  teens,  he  edited  what  is  now  a  literary  curiosity,  the 
Saltwater  Gazette^  and  when  the  Argus  was  launched  in  1832,  he 
gained  valuable  newspaper  experience  in  connection  with  it,  his  father 
being  its  printer. 

So  well  did  he  improve  his  opportunities,  and  so  promising  were  his 
contributions  to  the  press,  that  before  he  was  twenty-three  he  was 
appointed  assistant-editor  of  the  Scotsman.  During  the  following  years 
in  Edinburgh  he  made  acquaintance  with  most  of  the  Scottish  men  of 
letters  of  the  time,  and  of  many  ot  them — Francis  Jeffrey,  James 
Ballantine,  the  brothers  Chambers,  and  others — he  had  at  a  later  day 
highly  interesting  memories  to  relate.  Among  his  other  literary 
performances  at  that  period  he  wrote  one  number  of  Wilson's  "  Tales 


3i4        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

of  the  Borders,"  and  some  political  articles  which  were  much  quoted 
and  commented  on.  And  when  at  last  he  left  Edinburgh,  in  1842, 
he  was  entertained  at  a  public  dinner,  at  which  Charles  Maclaren, 
editor  of  the  Scotsman,  presided,  and  John  Hill  Burton,  the 
future  historian  of  Scotland,  was  croupier.  He  then,  with 
his  brother  Robert,  started  the  Glasgow  Citizen,  a  4^d.  weekly  paper. 
In  its  columns  the  native  literary  taste  of  the  editor  became  at 
once  evident,  and,  the  final  series  of  "  Whistle-binkie  "  having  been 
issued  in  that  year,  the  new  paper  gathered  about  it  the  literary 
traditions  and  aspirations  of  Glasgow.  HedderwicKs  Miscellany, 
another  weekly  periodical  begun  in  1862,  had  a  more  purely  literary 
character,  but  much  the  same  set  of  contributors.  It  ceased  to 
appear  two  years  later  when,  the  new  daily  papers  having  under- 
mined the  position  of  his  weekly  journals,  Hedderwick  launched 
the  Glasgow  Evening  Citizen.  The  American  Civil  War  was  then  at 
its  height,  and  interest  in  Transatlantic  news  intense.  By  meeting  this 
interest  the  new  paper  at  once  attained  a  brilliant  and  lasting  success, 
and  to  its  example  is  largely  due  the  popular  afternoon  press  of  the 
United  Kingdom. 

In  1878  Glasgow  University  recognised  Hedderwick's  services  to 
literature  by  conferring  on  him  the  degree  of  LL.D.  To  the  last  his 
house  in  town  retained  something  of  the  character  of  a  salon  of  letters, 
among  others  who  were  frequently  entertained  there  being  the  members 
of  the  Ballad  Club,  of  which  he  was  honorary  president.  For  many 
years  he  was  subject  to  distressing  attacks  of  heart  palpitation.  This 
affection  rendered  imprisonment  in  a  train  a  natural  dread  to  him,  and  he 
travelled  regularly  to  and  from  his  country  house  at  Helensburgh  by 
road.  Only  twice  in  these  years  did  he  make  a  journey  by  rail,  going 
once  to  Peebles  and  once  to  Edinburgh,  on  the  latter  occasion  to  give 
evidence  regarding  a  brother  killed  in  the  disastrous  Winchburgh 
accident.  At  Rockland,  his  Helensburgh  residence,  on  ist  December, 
1897,  he  died.  He  was  twice  married,  and  was  survived  by  a  widow 
and  four  sons  and  a  daughter. 

As  a  journalist  Dr.  Hedderwick  wielded  to  the  end  one  of  the  most 
shrewd  and  charming  pens.  He  possessed  also  a  singularly  happy 
manner  of  address,  and  but  for  his  heart  affection  must  have  left  his 
mark  as  an  orator  in  a  much  wider  sphere.  On  the  occasions 
when  he  did  make  an  appearance,  as  at  the  founding  of  the  Western 


JAMES    HEDDERWICK         315 

Burns  Club  in  1859,  he  made  a  memorable  impression.  As  a  poet, 
not  less  than  a  friend  of  poets,  he  has  assured  his  place.  His 
first  volume  of  poems  appeared  in  1844.  It  was  followed  by  "  Lays 
of  Middle  Age"  in  1859,  enlarged  thirty  years  later,  and  "The 
Villa  by  the  Sea,  and  other  Poems"  in  1891.  His  ode  on  the  jubilee 
of  Queen  Victoria  was  read  to  the  Queen  by  his  old  friend  Sir  Theodore 
Martin,  and  was  ordered  to  be  included  among  the  odes  selected  for 
preservation.  Its  feature  was  the  absence  of  the  usual  adulation  and 
flattery  of  Royalty  for  royalty's  sake. 

Among  his  efforts  for  the  fame  of  others  must  be  recorded  the  highly 
effective  prologue  which  he  wrote  for  the  dramatic  performance  given 
in  1860  for  the  widow  of  Hugh  Macdonald,  the  memoir  which  in 
1862  he  prefixed  to  the  first  edition  of  the  poems  of  David  Gray, 
and  the  very  beautiful  epitaph  inscribed  on  the  public  monument  to 
John  Henry  Alexander,  the  actor-manager,  erected  in  Glasgow 
Necropolis.  His  witty,  kindly,  and  altogether  delightful  volume  of 
"  Backward  Glances,"  besides,  published  in  1891,  contains  many  of 
the  most  interesting  reminiscences  of  literary  Edinburgh  and  Glasgow 
during  sixty  years. 

Dr.  Hedderwick  left  some  brief  MS.  notes  of  his  life  in  the  hands  of 
his  sons,  from  which  a  number  of  details  have  been  included  in  the 
present  short  account.  A  memorial  to  him  has  been  erected  in  the 
nave  of  Glasgow  Cathedral. 


BY   THE   SEA-SIDE 

On  thy  fancy,  gentle  friend !  come  listen  while  I  paint 
A  little  sea-side  village,  with  its  houses  old  and  quaint, 
With  a  range  of  hills  behind,  and  a  rocky  beach  before, 
And  a  mountain-circled  sea  lying  flat  from  shore  to  shore 
Like  a  molten  metal  floor. 


316        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

The  noon  is  faint  with   splendour;   the  sails  are  hanging 

slack ; 

The  steamer,  passed  an  hour  ago,  has  left  a  foamy  track ; 
The  fisher's  skiff  is  motionless  at  anchor  in  the  bay  ; 
The  tall  ship  in  the  offing  has  been  idling  all  the  day 
Where  yesternight  it  lay. 

. 
There  is  not  breath  enough  to  wake  an  infant  wave  from 

sleep ; 

A  dreamy  haze  is  on  the  hills  and  on  the  shimmering  deep; 
The  rower  slackens  in  his  toil,  and  basks  within  his  boat ; 
On  the  dry  grass  the  student  sprawls,  too  indolent  to  note 
The  glory  that's  afloat. 

Round  my  throne  of  rock  and  heather  the  fat  bee  reels  and 

hums; 
The   liquid   whistle  of  some  bird  from  the  near  hillside 

comes ; 

All  else  is  silence  on  the  beach  and  silence  on  the  brine, 
And  tranquil  bliss  in  many  a  heart,  yet  sudden  grief  in 

mine, 

To  mark  a  stranger  pine. 

He  is  young,  with  youth  departed ;  moist  death  is  on  his 

cheek ; 
They  have  borne  him  out  into  the  sun  a  little  health  to 

seek — 

An  old  man  and  a  mother  and  a  maid  with  yearning  eyes ; 
They  smile  whene'er  they  talk  to  him ;  he  smiles  when  he 

replies ; 

Despair  takes  that  disguise. 


JAMES   HEDDERWICK         317 

Long  months  of  weary  watching  o'er  a  patient  bed  of  pain — 
The  light  held  softly  backward  that  might  show  all  watching 

vain — 
With  footsteps  hushed,  and  awful  fears  unbreathed  except 

in  prayer, 
And  healing  draughts  that  would  not  heal,  and  whisperings 

on  the  stair 

Are  imaged  meekly  there. 

Oh,  picture  sad  to  be  so  framed  in  the  sunshine  sent  of 

God! 

Alas  !  those  sorrowing  faces,  and  such  loveliness  abroad ! 
I  look  a  little  forward,  and  I  spy  a  wider  woe — 
The  heather  wet  and  withered,  and  the  waters  moaning  low, 
And  a  churchyard  white  with  snow. 

Yet  seems   it  well,  my  thoughtful  friend,  to  cheer  that 

dying  eye 

With  witness  of  the  spousals  of  the  glowing  earth  and  sky — 
To  wrap  that  frail  immortal  in  the  year's  delicious  prime, 
And  nurse  him  into  dreamings  of  the  bright  celestial  clime, 
Ere  falls  the  wintry  rime. 


JAMES   NORVAL 


SOMETHING  of  a  rough  and  towsy  wit,  but  a  man  of  character  and 
force,  with  a  rugged  but  real  vein  of  poetry  in  him,  "  the  Calton  Bard" 
as  he  was  called,  was  one  of  the  best-known  figures  in  the  East-End  of 
Glasgow  in  his  day.  When  it  was  known  he  was  to  speak  at  an 
election  meeting  the  hall  was  certain  to  be  full.  As  a  heckler  of 
candidates  he  had  no  equal,  and  when  he  took  up  a  cause,  with  his 
convincing  rhetoric  and  caustic  humour,  the  election  was  as  good  as  won. 
Norval  was  born,  not  in  the  Calton,  but  in  the  village  of  Parkhead, 
farther  east.  While  he  was  still  a  child,  however,  his  parents  removed 
to  the  "  white  houses  "  in  the  Gallowgate  of  Glasgow,  and  there  during 
his  happy  childhood  he  gathered  associations,  woven  later  into  "  My  ain 
gate  en',"  and  others  of  his  best  songs.  His  mother  had  a  wonderful 
store  of  old  witch  tales  and  ballads,  which  sank  into  his  memory,  and 
he  grew  up  amid  the  stir  of  the  Radical  risings  which  arose  out  of  the 
trying  times  after  Waterloo.  He  saw  the  bonfires  with  which  the 
people  rejoiced  over  the  acquittal  of  Queen  Caroline,  and  he  watched 
the  processions  to  "  the  Clay  Knowe  meetings,"  at  which  the  proletariat 
expressed  their  views  on  the  whisky  and  tobacco  duties  of  the  Govern- 
ment. Like  most  others  in  Calton  at  that  day  he  was  bred  a  weaver, 
and  for  many  years  he  made  his  living  at  the  loom.  Like  many 
weavers  also,  he  took  early  to  the  writing  of  verse,  but  it  was  only  after 
the  Glasgow  Citizen  was  started,  with  the  brilliant  little  group  of 
East-enders,  which  included  Hugh  Macdonald  and  David  Gray, 
contributing  to  it,  and  when  Mr.  William  Freeland,  as  sub-editor, 
offered  to  print  some  of  his  compositions,  that  Norval  bethought  himself 
in  earnest.  To  the  Citizen  columns  he  contributed  his  best  pieces  — 
"The  March  Win',"  "The  Boo-Man,"  "The  Wee  Pickle  Meal," 
and  others. 


JAMES    NORVAL  319 

Norval  used  to  tell  how,  when  the  last-named  piece  appeared,  an 
admirer  tramped  all  the  way  from  Carron  to  Glasgow  to  see  the  author. 
But  when  the  weaver,  in  his  shirt  sleeves,  and  tufted  with  "cadis," 
emerged  from  his  shop,  the  pilgrim  eyed  him  with  disdain.  "  Are  you 
the  author  of  '  The  Wee  Pickle  Meal?'"  he  said.  "  I've  walked  a'  the 
way  frae  Carron  to  see  the  man  that  wrote  that  poem,  and — I'm  greatly 
disappointed. " 

In  1868  the  poet  was  made  a  burgess  of  Glasgow ;  and  among  his 
other  exploits  he  took  part  in  the  famous  struggle  regarding  the  People's 
Park,  in  which  the  Town  Council  were  beaten,  and  Glasgow  Green 
was  saved  from  further  encroachment. 

Latterly  Norval  fell  upon  hard  times.  Hand-weaving  decayed,  and 
the  loom  verified  its  nick-name  of  "the  four  posts  o'  poverty."  He 
was  forced  to  descend  to  the  calling  of  a  labourer,  and  even  then  found 
it  hard  to  live.  To  the  last,  however,  he  remained  the  sturdy,  sober, 
and  upright  Scot.  He  was  a  total  abstainer,  and  when  he  died  the 
interests  of  the  working  classes  in  Glasgow  lost  one  of  their  strongest 
advocates.  An  immense  store  of  old  Glasgow  memories  also  died  with 
him  ;  and  though  he  was  married  he  left  no  child  to  inherit  his  name. 
He  died  in  the  Victoria  Infirmary,  Glasgow,  and  was  buried  in  Cathcart 
Cemetery.  As  a  poet  he  wrote  little  and  printed  less,  but  it  is  to  be 
hoped  that  what  he  did  write  may  yet  be  gathered  into  a  modest 
volume  to  perpetuate  his  fame.  After  his  death,  an  account  of  his 
career,  from  the  sympathetic  pen  of  Mr.  Robert  Ford,  was  printed  in 
The  People's  Friend. 


THE   MARCH   WIN' 

The  March  win'  sat  gurlin'  on  the  room  winnock  sill, 

At  the  deid  hour  o'  nicht,  and  his  gurl  boded  ill ; 

He  gar'd  the  doors  and  winnocks  shake,  syne  roared  doun 

the  lum — 
"  Are  ye  there,  frail  man  ?     Hoo  !    I'll  kill  ye  gin  I  come !" 


320        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

"  Kill  me  gin  ye  come,  will  ye?  cat-witted  auld  fule ! 
Hoots  !  ye  couldna  sned  the  shank  o'  a  wee  puddock-stool ! 
Cam'  ye  here  to  bullyrag  ?    Your  threats  I  lichtly  dree, 
For  my  life's  in  the  haun's  o}  my  Maker  wha's  on  hie, 
An'  quakes  na  at  the  snash  o'  a  braggart  like  thee." 

"  Ha  !  ha  !  ha  !"  lauched  the  win' ;  "  e'en  sneer  gin  ye  will, 
But  I  hae  the  power  to  threaten — certes,  I  can  kill ! 
I  could  mak'  your  heart  cauld  and  your  een  stane  blin' ; 
My  sooth !  he   maun  be  bauld  that  wad  daur  the  March 
win'!" 

"  My  sooth  !  '  he  maun  be  bauld  ! '     Feich  !  the  auld  boul's 

rinnm'  wud  ! 

Gae  'wa'  and  fley  the  bairns  wi'  your  white  stourie  clud. 
Turr  the  thack  aff  the  roof,  whup  its  strae  ower  the  linn, 
I  carena  a  bodle  for  your  heel-hackin'  win'. 
Ye  lee  like  a  banker  when  he  spuilzies  wi'  a  grin." 

"  I've  smote  the  bonnie  bride  'mid  her  bridesmaids  young 

and  fair  ; 

I've  felled  the  beggar  loon ;  I've  choked  the  baron's  heir ; 
I've  slain  the  radiant  saint,  and  the  bloated  in  his  sin ; 
And  the  bauldest  doff  their  caps  to  the  keen  March  win' !" 

"  Weel,  I  wadna  doff  my  cowl,  nor  wad  I  jee  my  wig 
To  sic  a  sprowsie  fule — to  sic  a  leein'  prig, 
That  comes  like  a  thief  i'  the  middle  o'  the  nicht. 
Gin  ye'd  come  like  a  man,  'mid  the  noon's  rosy  licht, 
I  wad  ding  ye  wi'  a  sun-glaff,  ye  frozen-sauled  wicht !" 


JAMES    NORVAL  321 

"  Frozen-sauled   wicht !    said   ye  ?      Then   ye'll    dree  the 

wicht's  power ! " 

Syne  he  gied  me  sic  a  worryin',  fegs,  I  mind  it  to  this  hour. 
He  filled  me  fu'  o'  gellin'  pains  frae  ankle-bane  to  chin ; 
He  brang  the  measles  'mang  the  weans,  and  speckled  a' 

their  skin ; 
It's  easy  wark  to  count  their  gains  that  daur  the  March  win'. 


MARION    PAUL    AIRD 
1815-1888 

A  GRAND-NIECE  of  the  witty  minister-poet  Hamilton  Paul,1  and 
descended  from  old  families  in  Carrick  and  Cunningham,  the  authoress 
of  "  Had  I  the  wings  of  a  dove"  was  born  and  educated  in  Glasgow. 
Her  early  days  were  spent  in  a  romantic  cottage  at  Govanhill,  then  a 
remote  rural'spot,  but  during  all  her  later  years  she  lived  at  Kilmarnock. 
In  1838  she  began  to  contribute  poetry  to  the  newspapers,  and  was 
brought  into  some  local  note  by  Dr.  John  Bowring,  to  whom  she  had 
addressed  a  set  of  verses,  mentioning  the  compliment  at  a  banquet 
given  in  his  honour.  Under  the  nom  de  plume  of  "Marimonia"  she 
contributed  to  the  Ayrshire  Wreath  and  another  poetical  periodical 
issued  by  Mr.  James  M'Kie,  and  in  1846  she  attained  considerable  success 
with  a  volume  of  poems,  "The  Home  of  the  Heart."  Seven  years 
later  she  published  "Heart  Histories,"  containing  the  best  pieces  of 
her  first  book,  with  some  additions.  A  larger  volume,  "Sun  and 
Shade,"  saw  the  light  in  1860,  and  in  18,63  sne  issued  an  exact  reprint 
of  her  "  Home  of  the  Heart."  An  occasional  later  piece  from  her  pen 
appeared  in  the  Kilmarnock  Standard,  and  on  Christmas  and  New 
Year  leaflets.  For  an  "Immortelle"  on  the  Prince  Consort  she 
received  a  grant  from  the  royal  bounty  fund ;  but  her  circumstances 
were  straitened,  and  in  1874  a  number  of  friends  and  admirers  sub- 
scribed and  purchased  an  annuity  for  her.  In  her  humble  last  years 
a  gleam  of  sunshine  which  came  to  her  was  the  news  that  a  friend 
travelling  on  the  Continent  had  heard  a  princess  playing  and  singing 
her  verses,  "Far,  far  away."  She  died  in  Kilmarnock,  3ist  January, 
1888,  and  was  buried  in  the  New  Cemetery  there.  A  brief  account  of 
her  life  appeared  in  the  succeeding  issue  of  the  Kilmarnock  Standard. 
In  the  words  of  the  writer  of  that  account,  "her  poetic  faculty  was 
sweet  and  amiable,  if  not  very  powerful."  But,  when  all  is  said, 
there  are  few  poets  who  can  boast  verses  so  universally  sung  as  the 
simple  child's  hymn  of  Marion  Paul  Aird. 

1  See  footnote  on  page  142. 


MARION    PAUL   AIRD  323 


FAR,   FAR    AWAY 

Had  I  the  wings  of  a  dove  I  would  fly 

Far,  far  away ;  far,  far  away ; 
Where  not  a  cloud  ever  darkens  the  sky, 

Far,  far  away  ;  far,  far  away. 
Fadeless  the  flowers  in  yon  Eden  that  blow, 
Green,  green  the  bowers  where  the  still  waters  flow, 
Hearts  like  their  garments,  as  pure  as  the  snow, 
Far,  far  away ;  far  away. 

There  never  trembles  a  sigh  of  regret 

Far,  far  away  ;  far,  far  away ; 
Stars  of  the  morning  in  glory  ne'er  set 

Far,  far  away ;  far,  far  away. 
There  I  from  sorrow  for  ever  would  rest, 
Leaning  in  joy  on  Immanuel's  breast ; 
Tears  never  fall  in  the  homes  of  the  blest, 
Far,  far  away ;  far  away. 

Friends,  there  united  in  glory,  ne'er  part, 

Far,  far  away ;  far,  far  away ; 
One  is  their  temple,  their  home,  and  their  heart, 

Far,  far  away ;   far,  far  away. 
The  river  of  crystal,  the  city  of  gold, 
The  portals  of  pearl  such  glory  unfold, 
Thought  cannot  image,  and  tongue  hath  not  told, 
Far,  far  away ;  far  away. 


324        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

List  what  yon  harpers  on  golden  harps  play — 

Come,  come  away ;  come,  come  away. 
Falling  and  frail  is  your  cottage  of  clay — 
Come,  come  away ;  come,  come  away. 
Come  to  these  mansions,  there's  room  yet  for  you, 
Dwell  with  the  friend  ever  faithful  and  true ; 
Sing  ye  the  song  ever  old,  ever  new — 
Come,  come  away ;  come  away. 


THE    AULD    KIRK-YARD 

Calm  sleep  the  village  dead 
In  the  auld  kirk-yard ; 
But  softly,  slowly  tread 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard. 
For  the  weary,  weary  rest 
Wi'  the  green  turf  on  their  breast, 
And  the  ashes  o'  the  blest 

Flower  the  auld  kirk-yard. 

Oh  !  many  a  tale  it  hath, 

The  auld  kirk-yard, 
Of  life's  crooked,  thorny  path 

To  the  auld  kirk-yard. 
But  mortality's  thick  gloom 
Clouds  the  sunny  world's  bloom, 
Veils  the  mystery  of  doom 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard. 


MARION    PAUL   AIRD          325 

A  thousand  memories  spring 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard, 
Though  time's  death-brooding  wing 

Shade  the  auld  kirk-yard. 
The  light  of  many  a  hearth, 
Its  music  and  its  mirth, 
Sleep  in  the  deep,  dark  earth 

O'  the  auld  kirk-yard. 

Nae  dreams  disturb  their  sleep 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard ; 
They  hear  nae  kindred  weep, 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard. 
The  sire  with  silver  hair, 
The  mother's  heart  of  care, 
The  young,  the  gay,  the  fair, 

Crowd  the  auld  kirk-yard. 

So  live  that  ye  may  lie 

In  the  auld  kirk-yard, 
Wi'  a  passport  to  the  sky 

Frae  the  auld  kirk-yard ; 
That  when  thy  sand  is  run, 
And  life's  weary  warfare  done, 
Ye  may  sing  o'  victory  won 

Where  there's  nae  kirk-yard. 


PHILIP   JAMES    BAILEY 

l8l6-I9O2 

THOUGH  not  a  native  of  the  city,  the  author  of  "  Festus  "  was  educated 
at  Glasgow  University.  His  famous  poem  appears  to  have  been 
inspired  by  the  religious  and  metaphysical  spirit  of  his  alma  mater \  and 
was  the  first  production  of  a  school  to  be  strikingly  identified  with  the 
city  later  by  the  "  Life  Drama"  of  Alexander  Smith  and  the  poems  of 
James  Macfarlan  and  others.  For  these  reasons  he  cannot  be  omitted 
from  the  list  of  makers  whom  Glasgow  has  nourished. 

Born  at  Nottingham,  22nd  April,  1816,  and  son  of  Thomas  Bailey, 
author  of  the  "Annals  of  Nottinghamshire,"  the  poet  matriculated  in 
the  old  black  College  in  the  High  Street  of  Glasgow  in  1831.  Four 
years  later  he  entered  at  Lincoln's  Inn,  and  was  admitted  as  a  barrister 
in  1840.  He  never  practised,  however,  and  at  different  periods  of  his 
life  resided  in  Jersey  and  Naples,  and  in  various  parts  of  England. 
His  last  years  were  spent  entirely  in  his  native  city,  where,  after  the 
death  of  his  second  wife  in  1896,  he  lived  almost  in  solitude  with  his 
books  as  his  companions.  There  he  died,  6th  September,  1902.  He 
was  survived  by  a  son  and  daughter. 

It  was  while  reading  for  the  Bar  in  1836  that  Bailey  planned  his 
poem.  He  himself  described  its  origin  in  an  interview  printed  in  The 
Young  Man  some  years  ago.  "  I  began  in  the  most  natural  way 
imaginable,"  he  declared.  "I  merely  started  to  write.  From  the 
time  I  was  ten  years  old  I  had  always  been  writing  verse  more  or  less. 
But  I  had  time  at  my  disposal— in  those  days  I  did  pretty  much  as  I 
liked — and  I  soon  found  myself  making  progress  with  'Festus.'  I 
had  the  theory  of  the  poem  in  my  mind,  and  the  plan  of  working  it  out, 
as  well  as  the  conception  of  the  main  characters.  The  doctrine  of 
Universalism  has  never  been  introduced  into  poetry,  and  in  that  aspect 
'Festus'  was  different  from  anything  that  had  previously  appeared." 

The  poem  was  published  in  1839,  and  received  with  a  furore  of 
applause.  Eleven  editions  of  it  have  appeared  in  this  country,  and 
thirty-one  in  America.  Lord  Tennyson  wrote  of  it  in  1850,  "  I  can 
scarcely  trust  myself  to  say  how  much  I  admire  it,  for  fear  of  falling 


PHILIP   JAMES   BAILEY        327 

into  extravagance."  And  countless  of  its  phrases  have  passed  into 
current  coin  of  speech.  Yet  its  author  lived  to  see  his  great  poem 
almost  forgotten.  Nevertheless,  "  Festus,"  the  production  of  a  young 
man  barely  out  of  his  teens,  remains  one  of  the  remarkable  achieve- 
ments of  English  li  erature.  Apart  from  its  high  poetic  merit,  part  of 
its  immediate  popularity  was  probably  due  to  the  fact  that  it  gave  apt 
expression  to  many  of  the  religious  speculations  and  theories  seething  in 
its  time.  Its  subject,  of  course,  was  the  same  as  that  of  Marlowe's 
"  Faustus  "  and  Goethe's  "  Faust,"  but  it  differed  from  its  predecessors 
in  making  its  hero  triumph  at  last  over  the  powers  of  evil.  Dealing 
with  the  highest  problems  of  religion  and  philosophy,  the  poem  was 
nothing  less  than  an  attempt  to  rival  Milton.  Its  weakness,  like  the 
weakness  of  that  other  like  attempt,  Pollok's  "Course  of  Time,"  lay  in 
the  fact  that  it  was  written  by  too  young  a  man.  To  this  fact  also 
probably  belongs  the  exaggeration  of  its  style,  for  which  it  was 
gibbeted,  along  with  the  later  works  of  Alexander  Smith  and  Sidney 
Dobell,  by  Professor  Aytoun  in  "  Firmilian,"  as  the  production  of  a 
"  Spasmodic  School." 

Among  Bailey's  other  works  were  "  The  Angel  World,"  published  in 
1850;  "The  Mystic,"  1855  ;  "The  Age,  a  Satire,"  1858;  and  "The 
Universal  Hymn,"  1867.  Some  of  these  were  embodied  in  later 
editions  of  "  Festus,"  doubling  the  size  of  the  original  work.  In 
1901  Glasgow  University  conferred  the  degree  of  LL.D.  on  its  old 
alumnus. 

An  account  of  the  poet's  life  appeared  in  the  Nottingham  Daily 
Express  for  8th  September,  1902. 

The  following  extract  is  included  here  by  kind  permission  of  Messrs. 
George  Rou  Hedge  &  Sons,  Limited  :— 


SCENE   FROM   "FESTUS" 
A  country  town — market-place — noon 

Lucifer. — These  be  the  toils  and  cares  of  mighty  men  ! 
Earth's  vermin  are  as  fit  to  fill  her  thrones 
As  these  high  Heaven's  bright  seats. 


328        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

Festus.—  Men's  callings  all 

Are  mean  and  vain  ;  their  wishes  more  so :  oft 
The  man  is  bettered  by  his  part  or  place. 
How  slight  a  chance  may  raise  or  sink  a  soul ! 


Lucifer. — What  men  call  accident  is  God's  own  part. 
He  lets  ye  work  your  will — it  is  His  own : 
But  that  ye  mean  not,  know  not,  do  not,  He  doth. 


Festus. — What  is  life  worth  without  a  heart  to  feel 
The  great  and  lovely,  and  the  poetry 
And  sacredness  of  things  ?     For  all  things  are 
Sacred — the  eye  of  God  is  on  them  all, 
And  hallows  all  unto  it.     It  is  fine 
To  stand  upon  some  lofty  mountain-thought 
And  feel  the  spirit  stretch  into  a  view — 
To  joy  in  what  might  be  if  will  and  power 
For  good  would  work  together  but  one  hour. 
Yet  millions  never  think  a  noble  thought, 
But  with  brute  hate  of  brightness  bay  a  mind 
Which  drives  the  darkness  out  of  them,  like  hounds. 
Throw  but  a  false  glare  round  them,  and  in  shoals 
They  rush  upon  perdition.     That's  the  race. 
What  charm  is  in  this  world-scene  to  such  minds 
Blinded  by  dust  ?     What  can  they  do  in  Heaven, 
A  state  of  spiritual  means  and  ends  ? 
Thus  must  I  doubt,  perpetually  doubt. 

Lucifer. — Who  never  doubted  never  half  believed. 
Where  doubt,  there  truth  is — 'tis  her  shadow.     I 
Declare  unto  thee  that  the  past  is  not. 


PHILIP   JAMES    BAILEY        329 

I  have  looked  over  all  life,  yet  never  seen 

The  age  that  had  been.     Why  then  fear  or  dream 

About  the  future  ?     Nothing  but  what  is,  is ; 

Else  God  were  not  the  Maker  that  He  seems, 

As  constant  in  creating  as  in  being. 

Embrace  the  present !     Let  the  future  pass. 

Plague  not  thyself  about  a  future.     That 

Only  which  comes  direct  from  God,  His  spirit, 

Is  deathless.     Nature  gravitates  without 

Effort ;  and  so  all  mortal  natures  fall 

Deathwards.     All  aspiration  is  a  toil ; 

But  inspiration  cometh  from  above, 

And  is  no  labour.     The  earth's  inborn  strength 

Could  never  lift  her  up  to  yon  stars,  whence 

She  fell ;  nor  human  soul,  by  native  worth, 

Claim  Heaven  as  birthright,  more  than  man  may  call 

Cloudland  his  home.     The  soul's  inheritance, 

Its  birthplace,  and  its  deathplace,  is  of  earth, 

Until  God  maketh  earth  and  soul  anew, 

The  one  like  Heaven,  the  other  like  Himself. 

So  shall  the  new  Creation  come  at  once ; 

Sin,  the  dead  branch  upon  the  tree  of  life, 

Shall  be  cut  off  forever ;  and  all  souls 

Concluded  in  God's  boundless  amnesty. 

Fcstus. — Thou  windest  and  unwindest  faith  at  will. 
What  am  I  to  believe  ? 

Lucifer. —  Thou  mayest  believe 

But  that  which  thou  art  forced  to. 


330         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Festus.-  Then  I  feel 

That  instinct  of  immortal  life  in  me 
Which  prompts  me  to  provide  for  it. 

Lucifer. —  Perhaps. 

Festus. — Man  hath  a  knowledge  of  a  time  to  come- 
His  most  important  knowledge  :  the  weight  lies 
Nearest  the  short  end  :  and  the  world  depends 
Upon  what  is  to  be.     I  would  deny 
The  present,  if  the  future.     Oh  !  there  is 
A  life  to  come,  or  all's  a  dream. 

Lucifer. —  And  all 

May  be  a  dream.     Thou  see'st  in  thine,  men,  deeds, 
Clear,  moving,  full  of  speech  and  order ;  then 
Why  may  not  all  this  world  be  but  a  dream 
Of  God's  ?     Fear  not !     Some  morning  God  may  waken. 

Festus. — I  would  it  were.     This  life's  a  mystery. 
The  value  of  a  thought  cannot  be  told  : 
But  it  is  clearly  worth  a  thousand  lives 
Like  many  men's.     And  yet  men  love  to  live 
As  if  mere  life  were  worth  their  living  for. 
What  but  perdition  will  it  be  to  most  ? 
Life's  more  than  breath  and  the  quick  round  of  blood  : 
It  is  a  great  spirit  and  a  busy  heart. 
The  coward  and  the  small  in  soul  scarce  live. 
One  generous  feeling — one  great  thought — one  deed 
Of  good,  ere  night,  would  make  life  longer  seem 
Than  if  each  year  might  number  a  thousand  days 
Spent  as  is  this  by  nations  of  mankind. 


PHILIP  JAMES   BAILEY        331 

We  live  in  deeds,  not  years ;  in  thoughts,  not  breaths ; 

In  feelings,  not  in  figures  on  a  dial. 

We  should  count  time  by  heart-throbs.     He  most  lives 

Who  thinks  most,  feels  the  noblest,  acts  the  best. 

Life's  but  a  means  unto  an  end — that  end, 

Beginning,  mean  and  end  to  all  things — God. 

The  dead  have  all  the  glory  of  the  world. 

Why  will  we  live  and  not  be  glorious  ? 

We  never  can  be  deathless  till  we  die. 

It  is  the  dead  win  battles.     And  the  breath 

Of  those  who  through  the  world  drive  like  a  wedge, 

Tearing  earth's  empires  up,  nears  death  so  close 

It  dims  his  well-worn  scythe.     But  no !  the  brave 

Die  never.     Being  deathless  they  but  change 

Their  country's  arms  for  more — their  country's  heart. 

Give  then  the  dead  their  due  ;  it  is  they  who  saved  us. 

The  rapid  and  the  deep — the  fall — the  gulph 

Have  likenesses  in  feeling  and  in  life. 

And  life,  so  varied,  hath  more  loveliness 

In  one  day  than  a  creeping  century 

Of  sameness.     But  youth  loves  and  lives  on  change, 

Till  the  soul  sighs  for  sameness ;  which  at  last 

Becomes  variety,  and  takes  its  place. 

Yet  some  will  last  to  die  out  thought  by  thought, 

And  power  by  power,  and  limb  of  mind  by  limb, 

Like  lamps  upon  a  gay  device  of  glass, 

Till  all  of  soul  that's  left  be  dry  and  dark ; 

Till  even  the  burden  of  some  ninety  years 

Hath  crashed  into  them  like  a  rock  ;  shattered 

Their  system  as  if  ninety  suns  had  rushed 


332         THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

To  ruin  earth — or  Heaven  had  rained  its  stars ; 

Till  they  become,  like  scrolls,  unreadable 

Through  dust  and  mould.     Can  they  be  cleaned  and  read  ? 

Do  human  spirits  wax  and  wane  like  moons  ? 

Lucifer. — The  eye  dims,  and  the  heart  gets  old  and 

slow ; 

The  lithe  limb  stiffens,  and  the  sun-hued  locks 
Thin  themselves  off,  or  whitely  wither ;  still 
Ages  not  spirit,  even  in  one  point, 
Immeasurably  small ;  from  orb  to  orb, 
In  ever-rising  radiance,  shining  like 
The  sun  upon  the  thousand  lands  of  earth. 
Look  at  the  medley,  motley  throng  we  meet ! 
Some  smiling — frowning  some ;  their  cares  and  joys 
Alike  not  worth  a  thought — some  sauntering  slowly, 
As  if  destruction  never  could  o'ertake  them ; 
Some  hurrying  on  as  fearing  judgment  swift 
Should  trip  the  heels  of  death  and  seize  them  living. 

Festus. — Grief  hallows  hearts  even  while  it  ages  heads  ; 
And  much  hot  grief  in  youth  forces  up  life 
With  power  which  too  soon  ripens  and  which  drops. 


HUGH    MACDONALD 

1817-1860 

BEST  remembered  by  his  "  Rambles  Round  Glasgow  "  and  "  Days  at 
the  Coast  " — books  which  have  done  more  than  anything  else  to  waken 
interest  in  memorable  spots  about  Glasgow  and  the  shores  of  Clyde — 
Hugh  Macdonald  was  a  writer  of  verse  of  real  if  simple  charm,  and 
left  at  least  one  song  not  likely  to  be  forgotten. 

Of  humble  Highland  parentage,  and  born  in  Bridgeton,  4th  April, 
1817,  he  received  scant  education,  and  was  early  apprenticed  to 
block-printing  at  Barrowfield  works.  His  leisure,  when  a  young  man, 
was  spent  in  rambles  to  every  spot  of  interest  within  walking  distance 
of  the  city.  In  this  way  he  became  an  expert  botanist.  At  the  same 
time,  in  the  same  way  as  so  many  other  Scottish  men  of  letters,  from 
the  Wizard  of  Abbotsford  downwards,  he  was  gathering  materials  for 
the  future  alchemy  of  the  ink-pot.  After  investing  his  savings  in  a 
small  provision  business,  and  losing  most  of  them,  he  found  work  again 
as  a  block-printer  at  Colinslie,  near  Paisley,  and  walked  from  Bridgeton 
and  back  every  day,  a  distance  of  sixteen  miles. 

It  was  during  these  long  walks  that  he  began  to  compose  poetry, 
which  he  contributed  to  the  Chartist  Circular.  About  the  same  time 
the  Rev.  George  Gilfillan  made  one  of  those  attacks  upon  the  character 
of  Robert  Burns  which  appear  to  be  periodic.  It  was  answered  by 
Macdonald  in  a  series  of  letters  contributed  to  the  Glasgow  Citizen. 
At  that  time  the  poet's  outlook  was  of  the  darkest,  and  he  applied  for, 
and  received,  a  situation  as  a  letter-carrier.  Meanwhile,  however,  he 
had  found  a  more  congenial  occupation.  He  became  sub-editor  of  the 
Citizen  in  1849,  and  justified  his  appointment  forthwith  by  contributing, 
above  the  signature  of  "  Caleb,"  his  delightful  "  Rambles  Round 
Glasgow."  These  as  proposed  at  first  by  Macdonald,  were  to  be  merely 
a  series  of  articles  descriptive  of  the  wild-flower  habitats  of  the 
neighbourhood,  but  at  Mr.  Hedderwick's  suggestion  they  were  made  to 
include  the  scenery,  antiquities,  and  memorabilia  of  each  locality. 


334        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

"  Days  at  the  Coast,"  a  similar  series,  was  begun  in  the  same  columns, 
but  concluded  in  the  Glasgow  Times,  of  which  Macdonald  presently 
became  editor.  Both  series  have  since  gone  through  many  editions  in 
book  shape.  During  his  connection  with  the  Citizen  Macdonald 
discovered  and  introduced  to  public  notice,  among  others,  the  merits  of 
David  Wingate  and  James  Macfarlan. 

It  is  to  this  period  that  the  description  of  Macdonald  applies,  which 
was  furnished  by  Patrick  Proctor  Alexander  in  his  memoir  prefixed  to 
the  "  Last  Leaves  "  of  Alexander  Smith,  who  was  Macdonald's  most 
intimate  friend.  "If,  at  any  time  during  summer,  you  chanced  to  be 
wandering  about  Loch  Lomond,  or  anywhere  in  the  beautiful  Highland 
district  which  the  Firth  of  Clyde  lays  open  with  its  branching  arms, 
you  were  nearly  sure  to  spy,  on  the  deck  of  some  steamboat,  a  quaint 
little  figure  in  a  huge  old  rusty  pilot  coat,  crowned  with  a  Glengarry 
bonnet,  jauntily  set  on  one  side,  in  which  a  considerable  sprig  of  heather 
was  always  defiantly  stuck,  as  making  a  testimony  to  all  men.  This  was 
Hugh  Macdonald  on  one  of  his  perpetual  rambles." 

In  1858  the  Morning  Journal  was  launched,  and  Macdonald  became 
its  literary  editor.  On  this  occasion  he  was  entertained  at  a  public 
dinner  in  the  city  ;  and  on  25th  January  following,  at  the  celebration 
of  Burns's  centenary,  he  presided,  with  his  homely  dignity  and  broad 
Scots  Doric,  at  the  gathering  in  the  King's  Arms  Hotel. * 

Among  other  contributions  to  the  Journal^  he  began  a  series  of 
"Pilgrimages  to  Remarkable  Places"  and  "Footsteps  of  the  Year." 
He  engaged  also  in  preparation  of  a  work  on  "Old  Folk -Lore."  But 
his  pen  had  lost  its  charm,  his  health  rapidly  failed,  and  he  died  i6th 
March,  1860.  He  was  buried  in  the  Southern  Necropolis.  Three 
years  later  his  poems  were  collected  and  published,  with  a  memoir. 


IThe  dinner  was  described  by  the  late  William  Simpson  (Crimean, 
Simpson"),  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Robert  M'Clure,  reprinted  in  the  Scottish  American^ 
lath  September,  1900.  "  Hugh,"  says  Simpson,  "sat  in  an  old  chair  in  which  Burns 
had  sat.  It  had  an  arrangement  by  which  some  part  of  the  back  could  be  folded 
forward  and  used  as  a  desk.  On  this  Burns  had  written  some  of  his  poems.  A  grand- 
son of  the  poet  was  one  of  the  party,  a  son  of  Mrs.  Thomson,  the  daughter  of  Burns, 
who  lived  somewhere  out  by  Crossmyloof  or  the  'Shaws.'  Alexander  Smith  was 
there  out  of  compliment  to  Hugh,  and  I  had  the  honour  of  being  present."  Simpson 
was  a  personal  friend  of  Macdonald,  and  is  referred  to  in  the  "Ramble"  to 
Robroyston. 


HUGH   MACDONALD  335 

A  sum  of  £900  was  also  raised  as  a  testimony  of  public  esteem,  and 
invested  for  behoof  of  his  widow  and  children,  and  a  fountain  to  his 
memory  was  erected  on  Glasgow  Green.  Many  vivid  reminiscences  or 
the  poet  are  to  be  found  in  Dr.  Hedderwick's  "Backward  Glances," 
and  in  the  memoir  of  Smith  by  P.  P.  Alexander,  already  referred  to. 


THE   BONNIE  WEE   WELL 

The  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  breist  o'  the  brae, 
That  skinkles  sae  cauld  in  the  sweet  smile  o'  day, 
And  croons  a  laigh  sang  a'  to  pleasure  itsel', 
As  it  jinks  'neath  the  breckan  and  genty  blue-bell — 

The  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  breist  o'  the  brae 
Seems  an  image  to  me  o'  a  bairnie  at  play ; 
For  it  springs  frae  the  yird  wi'  a  flicker  o'  glee, 
And  it  kisses  the  flowers  while  its  ripple  they  pree. 

The  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  breist  o'  the  brae 
Wins  blessings  and  blessings  fu*  monie  ilk  day ; 
For  the  way-worn  and  weary  aft  rest  by  its  side, 
And  man,  wife,  and  wean  a'  are  richly  supplied. 

The  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  briest  o'  the  brae, 
Where  the  hare  steals  to  drink  in  the  gloamin'  sae  grey, 
Where  the  wild  moorlan'  birds  dip  their  nebs  and  tak'  wing, 
And  the  lark  weets  his  whistle  ere  mounting  to  sing. 

Thou  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  briest  o'  the  brae ! 
My  mem'ry  aft  haunts  thee  by  nicht  and  by  day  j 
For  the  friends  I  ha'e  loved  in  the  years  that  are  gane 
Ha'e  knelt  by  thy  brim,  and  thy  gush  ha'e  parta'en. 


336        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Thou  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  briest  o'  the  brae! 
While  I  stoop  to  thy  bosom  my  thirst  to  allay, 
I  will  drink  to  the  loved  ones  who  come  back  nae  mair, 
And  my  tears  will  but  hallow  thy  bosom  sae  fair. 

Thou  bonnie  wee  well  on  the  briest  o'  the  brae ! 

My  blessing  rests  with  thee,  wherever  I  stray ; 

In  joy  and  in  sorrow,  in  sunshine  and  gloom, 

I  will  dream  of  thy  beauty,  thy  freshness,  and  bloom. 

In  the  depths  of  the  city,  'midst  turmoil  and  noise, 
I'll  oft  hear  with  rapture  thy  lone  trickling  voice, 
While  fancy  takes  wing  to  thy  rich  fringe  of  green, 
And  quaffs  thy  cool  waters  in  noon's  gowden  sheen. 


SIR  W.    STIRLING-MAXWELL,    BART. 
1818-1878 

DESCENDED  from  two  historic  families,  William  Stirling  was  born  at 
Kenmure,  near  Glasgow,  8th  March,  1818.  He  was  the  only  son  of 
Archibald  Stirling  of  Keir,  in  Perthshire,  whose  ancestors  took  part 
in  the  dark  and  turbulent  events  of  the  days  of  James  III.  and  James  V., 
and  supported  the  famous  Marquis  of  Montrose.  And  his  mother  was 
a  daughter  of  Sir  John  Maxwell,  Bart. ,  of  Pollok,  near  Glasgow,  whose 
forebears  fought  for  Douglas  at  Otter  bourne  and  for  Queen  Mary  at 
Langside. 

Educated  at  Trinity  College,  Cambridge,  he  graduated  in  1839, 
and  in  the  same  year,  along  with  a  college  friend,  published 
"A  Posie  of  Poesies."  His  first  independent  volume,  "  Songs  of  the 
Holy  Land,"  was  the  fruit  of  a  visit  to  Palestine  in  1842.  The  art  and 
history  of  Spain  next  attracted  him,  and  as  results  of  much  painstaking 
study  and  travel  abroad  he  produced  successively  "  The  Annals  of  the 
Artists  of  Spain  "  in  1848  ;  "  The  Cloister  Life  of  Charles  V."  in  1852  ; 
"  Velasquez  and  his  Works  "  in  1855  ;  and  "  The  Chief  Victories  of  the 
Emperor  Charles  V."  in  1870.  He  also,  among  other  services  to  art, 
published  three  series  of  rare  engravings,  "The  Turks  in  1533,"  by 
Peter  Coeck;  "  The  Procession  of  Pope  Clement  VII.  and  the  Emperor 
Charles  V.  on  the  occasion  of  the  Coronation,  Bologna,  1530,"  by 
Nicholas  Hogenberg ;  and  "  The  Entry  of  the  Emperor  Charles  V. 
into  Bologna,  1529,"  by  an  unknown  Venetian.  His  "Don  John  of 
Austria"  was  published  posthumously  in  1883,  and  a  volume  of  his 
miscellaneous  essays  in  1891.  To  the  last  named  a  brief  biographical 
note  was  appended. 

Meanwhile  he  had  entered  Parliament  in  1852  as  Conservative 
member  for  Perthshire.  In  1865  he  married  Lady  Anna  Leslie  Melville, 
second  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Leven  and  Melville,  and  in  the  following 
Z 


338        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

year  he  inherited,  through  his  mother,  the  baronetcy  and  estates  of 
Pollok,  on  account  of  which  he  assumed  the  name  of  Maxwell.  In 
recognition  of  his  character  as  an  author  and  a  patron  of  letters,  he  was 
elected  Rector  of  St.  Andrews  University  in  1862,  and  received  the 
degree  of  LL.D.  Ten  years  later  he  was  elected  Rector  of  Edinburgh 
University,  and  in  1876,  on  the  death  of  the  Duke  of  Montrose,  he  was 
chosen  Chancellor  of  the  University  of  Glasgow.  In  1876  he  was 
made  a  Knight  of  the  Thistle,  and  received  the  honorary  degree  of 
D.C.L.  from  Oxford  University.  His  first  wife  having  died  in  1874, 
he  married  three  years  later  the  Hon.  Mrs.  Norton,  an  early  friend 
and  an  authoress  of  some  standing.  Sir  William  died  of  a  fever  at 
Venice,  I5th  January,  1878,  leaving  two  sons  by  his  first  wife.  He  was 
buried  in  Lecropt  Churchyard  at  Keir. 

,  In  previous  collections  Stirling-Maxwell's  poetical  work  is  chiefly 
represented  by  a  descriptive  piece,  "The  Abdication  of  Charles  V.," 
stated  to  be  a  translation  of  a  Spanish  ballad.  The  piece,  curiously 
enough,  does  not  appear  among  the  poet's  works.  There  can  be  little 
doubt  that  Sir  William's  fame  as  a  poet  has  suffered  from  the  inaccessi- 
bility of  his  compositions.  His  "  Songs  of  the  Holy  Land  "  were 
published  in  a  very  limited  edition,  and  there  is  no  copy  in  any  of  the 
great  public  libraries  in  Scotland.  The  "Abdication  of  Charles  V." 
by  no  means  shows  him  at  his  best. 


RIZPAH 
2  Samuel  xxi.  i-n 

Behold  !   the  mighty  corses  on  the  rock  of  Jabesh  hoary, 
Mighty  corses  seven,  of  warriors  strong  and  tall ; 

Erewhile  they  went  in  purple,  and  dwelt  in  ease  and  glory, 
For  they  were  seven  princes  of  the  royal  blood  of  Saul 

They  died  not  like  the  mighty,  where  deadly  strife  was 

keenest, 

In  the  forefront  of   the  battle,    in  the  leaguer'd   city's 
flame; 


SIR  W.  STIRLING-MAXWELL,  BART.  339 

But  on  the  accursed  gallows  they  perished  like  the  meanest, 
And  Saul's  beloved  Gibeah  beheld  his  children's  shame. 


For  three  long  years  of  famine,  said  the  seers,  were  sent  by 

Heaven, 

Because  that  Saul  had  smitten,  in  his  zeal,  the  Gibeonite, 
Who  craved,  as  equal  ransom  of  the  wrong,  these  lordlings 

seven, 

And   hanged  them  there  in  Gibeah  when  barley-fields 
grew  white. 

Now  side  by  side  the  victims,  in  the  sleep  that  hath  no 

dreaming, 

Naked  beneath  the  heaven  in  storm  and  sunshine  lie ; 
Morn  and  even  vultures  sail  around  them  screaming, 
And  prowlers  from  the  wilderness  at  night  around  them 
cry. 

But  vulture's  beak,  nor  famished  fang  of  wolf  invades  them 

sleeping, 
Only  the  noiseless  worm  unseen  feeds  sweetly  on  their 

clay; 
For  kneeling  near  her  slaughtered  sons  a  mother  watches 

weeping, 

And  scares  the  flocking  fowls  of  noon  and  nightly  beasts 
away. 

These  fallen  ones  had  brethren,  and  friends  they  loved  as 

brothers, 
And  followers  very  many  in  their  day  of  honour  fled, 


340        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

And  the  witching  love  of  women,  but  none  was  like  their 

mother's, 

Whose  heart  did  most  remember  when  all  forgat  them 
dead. 

In  Millo's  palace  seemed  it  a  marvel  and  a  wonder 

To  the  mighty  men  of  valour,  and  the  courtiers  every  one, 

That  Rizpah  from  her  children  nor  shame  nor  death  could 

sunder ; 
So  it  was  told  King  David  what  the  concubine  had  done. 


IN  MEMORY  OF  H.  A.  S. 

Sister  !  these  woods  have  seen  ten  summers  fade 
Since  thy  dear  dust  in  yonder  church  was  laid. 
A  few  more  winters,  and  this  heart,  the  shrine 
Of  thy  fair  memory,  shall  be  cold  as  thine. 
Yet  may  some  stranger,  lingering  in  these  ways, 
Bestow  a  tear  on  grief  of  other  days ; 
For  if  he  too  have  wept  o'er  grace  and  youth, 
Goodness  and  wisdom,  faith  and  love  and  truth, 
Untinged  with  worldly  guile  or  selfish  stain, 
And  ne'er  hath  looked  upon  the  like  again, 
Then,  imaged  in  his  sorrow,  he  may  see 
All  that  I  loved  and  lost  and  mourn  in  thee.1 


'These  exquisite  lines  are  not  included  in  Sir  William  Stirling- Max- 
well's published  works.  They  are  inscribed  on  a  monument  in  the  old 
churchyard  of  Lecropt,  within  the  policies  at  Keir. 


W.   J.    MACQUORN    RANKINE 

1820-1872 

"WITH  a  profusion  of  auburn  hair,  he  had  a  head  like  imperial  Jove. 
As  Professor  of  Civil  Engineering  and  Mechanics  in  Glasgow 
University  he  was  learned  in  mathematics,  profuse  in  his  use  of 
algebraic  symbols,  and  profound  in  all  kinds  of  equation  and  analysis. 
Some  of  his  calculations  were  too  deep  for  ordinary  understandings  to 
fathom.  Yet  his  social  character  had  a  light  and  airy  side.  He  wrote 
rhymes  of  infinite  jest ;  some  of  his  original  songs  he  sang  to  tunes  of 
his  own  composition,  accompanying  himself  on  the  piano  ;  while  he  was 
also  the  author  of  a  little  series  of  '  Fables,'  very  brief  and  very 
pointed,  which,  as  he  repeated  them  with  quaint  gravity,  were  always 
received  with  relish." 

This  is  a  description  of  Professor  Rankine,  given  by  Dr.  Hedder- 
wick,  in  his  delightful  volume,  "  Backward  Glances,"  while  enumerating 
the  company  to  be  met  at  dinner  at  the  house  of  Sheriff  Glassford  Bell. 
For  the  following  details  of  the  Professor's  career  the  present  writer  is 
indebted  to  a  manuscript  book  of  memoranda  by  Rankine  himself, 
in  possession  of  his  cousin,  Miss  Grahame,  London.  An  account  of 
his  life  by  his  cousin,  James  Grahame,  evidently  condensed  from  the 
same  notes,  was  printed  in  "  Memoirs  and  Portraits  of  One  Hundred 
Glasgow  Men,"  in  1886. 

His  father,  a  younger  son  of  Macquorn  or  M'Oran  Rankine  of 
Drumdow,  in  Ayrshire,  after  serving  as  a  lieutenant  in  the  2ist 
Regiment,  was  latterly  Secretary  to  the  Caledonian  Railway  Company. 
His  mother,  Barbara  Grahame,  elder  daughter  of  Archibald  Grahame 
of  Drumquhassel,  banker  in  Glasgow,  was  a  niece  of  James  Grahame, 
author  of  The  Sabbath  (see  page  125).  The  poet,  an  elder  son,  was 
born  at  Edinburgh,  5th  July,  1820,  and  was  educated  at  Ayr  Academy, 
Glasgow  High  School,  and  Edinburgh  University.  He  had  been  early 


342        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

instructed  by  his  father  in  elementary  mathematics,  mechanics,  and 
physics;  and  when  he  was  fourteen  a  gift  of  Newton's  "Principia" 
from  his  uncle,  Archibald  Grahame,  gave  him  a  foundation  in  higher 
dynamics,  and  may  be  said  to  have  decided  his  career. 

Two  years  later  Rankine  gained  a  gold  medal  for  an  essay  on  the 
undulatory  theory  of  light.  In  1838,  after  helping  his  father  on 
works  of  the  Dalkeith  railway,  he  became  a  pupil  of  Sir  John 
Macneill,  the  eminent  civil  engineer,  and  three  years  later  he 
contrived,  on  the  Drogheda  railway,  a  new  device  for  setting  out 
curves,  since  known  as  "  Rankine's  method."  At  the  age  of 
twenty-two  he  published  his  first  pamphlet,  "An  Experimental 
Enquiry  into  the  Advantages  of  Cylindrical  Wheels  on  Railways,"  and 
on  the  occasion  of  Queen  Victoria's  first  visit  to  Edinburgh  superintended 
the  erection  of  the  bonfire  on  Arthur's  Seat  so  scientifically  that  the  rock 
was  partially  vitrified.  Ten  years  later,  along  with  John  Thomson,  he 
revived  the  scheme  proposed  in  1845  by  his  friend  Lewis  Gordon  and 
by  Lawrence  Hill,  junior,  to  supply  Glasgow  with  Loch  Katrine  water. 
In  1855  he  succeeded  Gordon  as  Regius  Professor  of  Civil 
Engineering  and  Mechanics  in  Glasgow  University.  And  in  1857 
Dublin  University  recognised  his  scientific  discoveries  communicated 
to  the  many  learned  societies  of  which  he  was  a  member,  by  conferring 
on  him  the  degree  of  LL.  D. 

Two  years  afterwards  the  Professor  entered  a  new  rdle.  Govern- 
ment accepted  the  offer  to  raise  a  corps  of  Glasgow  University 
Volunteers,  and  Rankine  received  a  commission  as  its  captain.  For  four 
years  he  remained  an  enthusiast  in  the  new  movement,  and  published 
papers  on  target  and  rifle  practice.  On  the  amalgamation  of  his  corps 
with  the  1st  Lanarkshire  Regiment  in  1860  he  became  senior  major, 
and  commanded  the  second  battalion  in  the  great  review  of  21,514 
volunteers  by  the  Queen  at  Edinburgh  on  7th  August.  He  resigned  in 
1864.  The  rest  of  his  career  was  that  of  the  busy  engineer,  professor, 
lecturer,  and  author  of  scientific  works.  His  chief  productions  were 
his  "  Manual  of  Civil  Engineering,"  published  in  1862,  and  in  1866 
his  "  Shipbuilding,  Theoretical  and  Practical,"  of  which  some  parts 
near  the  beginning  were  written  by  F.  K.  Barnes.  He  was  also 
author,  in  1870,  of  a  memoir  of  John  Elder,  the  eminent  shipbuilder. 

During  his  life  Rankine's  poetic  gift  was  known  chiefly  to  friends  by 
his  singing  of  his  own  songs,  to  which  his  voice  and  manner  lent  a 


W.   J.    MACQUORN    RANKINE  343 

singular  charm.  Some  of  these  songs  were  published  with  the 
music,  and  at  least  three  appeared  in  BlackwoocT s  Magazine.  After  his 
death,  however,  in  1874,  a  small  volume  of  his  "Songs  and  Fables" 
was  published  in  Glasgow  by  Mr.  MacLehose.  He  was  never  married, 
and  died  in  Glasgow,  24th  December,  1872.  "  The  Engine-Driver  "  is 
reproduced  here  by  kind  permission  of  Messrs.  William  Blackwood  & 
Sons. 


THE  ENGINE-DRIVER 

Put  forth  your  force,  my  iron  horse,  with  limbs  that  never 

tire! 
The  best  of  oil  shall  feed  your  joints,  and  the  best  of  coal 

your  fire. 
So  off  we  tear,  from  Euston  Square,  to  beat  the  swift  south 

wind, 

As  we  rattle  along  the  North-West  rail,  with  the  express 
train  behind : — 

Dash  along,  crash  along,  sixty  miles  an  hour ! 

Right  through  old  England  flee ! 
For  I  am  bound  to  see  my  love, 
Far  away  in  the  North  Countrie. 

Like  a  train  of  ghosts,  the  telegraph  posts  go  wildly  trooping 

by, 

While  one  by  one  the  milestones  run,  and  off  behind  us 
fly: 

Like  foaming  wine  it  fires  my  blood  to  see  your  lightning 
speed ; 

Arabia's  race  ne'er  matched  your  pace,  my  gallant  steam- 
borne  steed  ! 


344        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Wheel  along,  squeal  along,  sixty  miles  an  hour  ! 

Right  through  old  England  flee  ! 
For  I  am  bound  to  see  my  love, 

Far  away  in  the  North  Countrie. 

My  blessing  on  old  George  Stephenson  !  let  his  fame  for 

ever  last ! 
For  he  was  the  man  that  found  the  plan  to  make  you  run 

so  fast. 
His  arm  was  strong,  his  head  was  long,  he  knew  not  guile 

nor  fear ; 

When  I  think  of  him  it  makes  me  proud  that  /  am  an 
engineer  ! 

Tear  along,  flare  along,  sixty  miles  an  hour  ! 

Right  through  old  England  flee  ! 
For  I  am  bound  to  see  my  love, 
Far  away  in  the  North  Countrie. 

Now  Thames  and  Trent  are  far  behind,    and  evening's 

shades  are  come ; 
Before  my  eyes  the  brown  hills  rise  that  guard  my  true 

love's  home  : 
Even  now  she   stands,    my  own   dear   lass  !    beside   the 

cottage  door, 

And  she  listens  for  the  whistle  shrill,  and  the  blast-pipe's 
rattling  roar. 

Roll  along,  bowl  along,  sixty  miles  an  hour  ! 

Right  through  old  England  flee  ! 
For  I  am  bound  to  see  my  love, 
At  home  in  the  North  Countrie. 


THOMAS    ELLIOTT 

1820-1868. 

WHEN  the  "  Lyric  Gems  of  Scotland "  was  published  serially  in 
Glasgow  from  1854  to  1858  it  included  songs  by  a  number  of  new 
poets.  One  of  these  was  Thomas  Elliott.  Descended  of  a  branch  of 
the  Border  Elliots  settled  in  Ulster  after  the  Revolution,  he  was  born 
at  Ballyho-bridge,  in  Fermanagh,  22nd  December,  1820.  After  a  fair 
education  in  his  native  district,  he  became  apprentice  in  his  fifteenth 
year  to  his  father,  the  village  shoemaker.  In  1836  the  family  removed 
to  Belfast,  and  there  the  future  poet  took  advantage  of  the  greater 
opportunities  for  the  study  of  books.  His  first  attempt  at  poetry  was 
in  his  twenty-second  year,  when  he  essayed  a  satire  on  a  pedantic  music- 
teacher  who  had  given  him  offence.  In  1847  he  crossed  the  Irish  Sea 
and  settled  as  a  working  shoemaker  in  Glasgow,  where  his  "Doric 
Lays  and  Attic  Chimes  "  was  published  in  1856. 

Elliott  also  wrote  occasional  prose  articles  for  the  press,  perhaps 
his  most  notable  performance  of  this  kind  being  an  account  of  another 
Glasgow  poet,  James  Macfarlan,  which  appeared  in  the  Ulster 
Magazine  in  January,  1863.  His  poetry  strikes  a  healthy,  vigorous, 
independent  note,  with  nothing  at  all  of  latter-day  decadence  in  it. 

Among  the  poems  of  Janet  Hamilton  remains  an  eloquent  "Appeal 
for  Thomas  Elliott,"  in  which  his  last  days  are  pathetically  described  : — 

"  Poor  Tom's  a-cold  !      Upon  his  shrinking  head 
The  pelting  storm  beats  pitiless  !     On  bed 
Of  languishing,  disease,  and  cureless  pain 
He  lies,  surrounded  by  the  haggard  train 
Of  want — the  victim  of  the  thousand  ills 
With  which  cold  poverty  the  life-blood  chills. 
Alas,  poor  Tom  !  must  thy  last  look  on  earth 
Fall  on  a  squalid  room  and  cheerless  hearth, 
Pale,  pining  children,  and  a  weeping  wife, 
With  scanty  sustenance  for  needs  of  life  ?  " 


346        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

A  living  Glasgow  poet,  to  whom  the  younger  singers  of  the  city  owe 
many  a  kind  encouragement,  and  who  knew  the  subject  of  these  lines, 
writes  of  him  :  "  Elliott  was  delicate,  yet  fought  heroically  against  fate. 
He  was  optimistic,  and  sang  like  a  lark.  He  sang  his  way  to  heaven's 
gate,  and  I  cannot  help  fancying  that,  if  St.  Peter  had  a  stool  of  gold 
vacant,  he  must  have  given  it  to  poor  Tom,  and  asked  him  to  make 
sandals  for  the  seraphs." 


CLYDE  BOAT  SONG 

Leave  the  city's  busy  throng, 
Dip  the  oar  and  wake  the  song ; 
See  on  Cathkin's  braes  the  moon 
Rises  with  a  star  aboon. 
Hark  the  boom  of  evening  bells 
Trembles  through  the  leafy  dells  ! 

Row,  lads,  row  !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
While  the  golden  eventide 
Lingers  o'er  the  vale  of  Clyde. 
Row,  lads,  row  !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
Up  the  Clyde  with  the  tide, 
Row,  lads,  row ! 

Life's  a  river  deep  and  old, 
Stemmed  by  rowers  brave  and  bold ; 
Now  in  shadow,  then  in  light, 
Onward  aye,  a  thing  of  might. 
Sons  of  Albyn's  ancient  land, 
Row  with  strong  and  steady  hand 


THOMAS    ELLIOTT  347 

Row,  lads,  row  !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
Gaily  row  and  cheerly  sing, 
Till  the  woodland  echoes  ring. 

Row,  lads,  row !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
Up  the  Clyde  with  the  tide, 
Row,  lads,  row  ! 

Hammers  on  the  anvils  rest, 

Dews  upon  the  gowan's  breast ; 

Young  hearts  heave  with  tender  thought ; 

Low  winds  sigh,  with  odours  fraught : 

Stars  bedeck  the  blue  above — 

Earth  is  full  of  joy  and  love. 

Row,  lads,  row  !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
Let  your  oars  in  concert  beat 
Time,  like  merry  dancers'  feet. 
Row,  lads,  row  !  row,  lads,  row  ! 
Up  the  Clyde  with  the  tide, 
Row,  lads,  row ! 


UP  WITH  THE  DAWN 

Up  with  the  dawn,  ye  sons  of  toil, 

And  bare  the  brawny  arm, 
To  drive  the  harnessed  team  afield, 

And  till  the  fruitful  farm  : 
To  dig  the  mine  for  hidden  wealth, 

Or  make  the  woods  to  ring ; 
With  swinging  axe  and  sturdy  stroke 

To  fell  the  forest  king. 


348         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

With  ocean  car  and  iron  steed 

Traverse  the  land  and  sea, 
And  spread  our  commerce  round  the  globe 

As  winds  that  wander  free. 
Subdue  the  earth  and  conquer  fate, 

Outspeed  the  flight  of  time  : 
Old  earth  is  rich,  and  man  is  young, 

Nor  near  his  jocund  prime. 

Work,  and  the  clouds  of  care  will  fly, 

Pale  want  will  pass  away  : 
Work,  and  the  leprosy  of  crime 

And  tyrants  must  decay. 
Leave  the  dead  ages  in  their  urns  ; 

The  present  time  be  ours, 
To  grapple  bravely  with  our  lot, 

And  strew  our  path  with  flowers. 


JAMES    LITTLE 
1821- 

SON  of  a  respectable  shoemaker,  who  was  a  claimant,  through  his 
mother's  mother,  of  the  honours  and  estates  of  the  last  Marquis  of 
Annandale,  James  Little  was  born  at  Glasgow,  24th  May,  1821.  He 
enjoyed  but  a  scanty  education,  and  early  enlisted  as  a  private  soldier. 
He  served  for  eight  years,  mostly  in  North  America  and  the  West 
Indies.  Then  he  purchased  his  discharge,  and  settled  as  a  journeyman 
shoemaker  in  his  native  city.  He  emigrated  to  the  United  States  in 
1852,  but  soon  returned.  His  best  pieces  were  set  to  music  in  the 
"  Lyric  Gems  of  Scotland,"  and  he  published  two  volumes  of  poetry, 
"Sparks  from  Nature's  Fire"  in  1856,  and  "The  Last  March  and 
Other  Poems  "  later. 


SCOTIA'S   SHORE 

Sing  not  to  me  of  sunny  shores, 

Of  verdant  climes  where  olives  bloom, 
Where  still  and  calm  the  river  pours 

Its  flood  'mid  groves  of  sweet  perfume. 
Give  me  the  land  where  torrents  flash, 

Where  loud  the  angry  cat'racts  roar, 
As  wildly  on  their  course  they  dash — 

Then  here's  a  health  to  Scotia's  shore  ! 


350        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Sing  not  to  me  of  sunny  isles, 

Though  there  eternal  summers  reign, 
Though  orange  groves  serenely  smile, 

And  gaudy  flowerets  deck  the  plain. 
Give  me  the  land  of  mountains  steep, 

Where  wild  and  free  the  eagles  soar, 
The  dizzy  crags  where  tempests  sweep — 

Then  here's  a  health  to  Scotia's  shore  ! 

Sing  not  to  me  of  sunny  lands, 

For  there  full  often  tyrants  sway, 
Who  climb  to  power  with  blood-stained  hands, 

While  crouching,  trembling  slaves  obey. 
Give  me  the  land  unconquered  still, 

Though  often  tried  in  days  of  yore, 
Where  freedom  reigns  from  plain  to  hill — 

Then  here's  a  health  to  Scotia's  shore. 


COLIN  RAE-BROWN 

1821-1897 

IF  a  man  ever  achieved  his  own  memorial  by  inaugurating  monuments 
to  other  people,  that  man  was  Colin  Rae-Brown.  He  was  little  more 
than  twenty  when  he  took  part  in  erecting  a  monument  to  Highland 
Mary  in  Greenock  churchyard.  He  set  on  foot  in  1856  and  engineered 
the  movement  to  build  the  National  Wallace  Monument  on  the  Abbey 
Craig  at  Stirling.  He  suggested  the  great  national  demonstration  which 
took  place  on  the  centenary  of  the  birth  of  Burns.  He  inaugurated 
the  London  Burns  Club  in  1868;  co-operated  three  years  later  with 
Charles  Mackay,  George  Cruickshank,  and  others,  in  raising  funds  for 
the  completion  of  the  Scott  Monument  at  Edinburgh  ;  and  took  part 
in  the  movement  which  placed  a  statue  of  Burns  on  the  Thames 
Embankment.  His  last  achievement  of  the  kind,  the  placing  of  a 
statue  of  Highland  Mary  on  the  Castle  Hill,  Dunoon,  was  accomplished 
at  the  expense  of  his  life.  From  first  to  last  he  was  a  most  patriotic 
Scotsman,  full  of  enthusiasm  and  energy. 

As  a  private  citizen  his  career  was  eventful  enough.  One  of  his 
forebears  is  said  to  have  been  the  "Colin"  of  the  song  "  There's  nae 
luck  aboot  the  hoose."  His  father  was  a  respectable  merchant  captain 
and  shipowner  in  Greenock,  and  Colin  Rae-Brown  was  born  in  that 
town,  1 9th  December,  1821.  In  his  tenth  year  the  family  removed  to 
Glasgow,  but  in  his  twentieth  he  returned  to  Greenock  to  manage  a 
business  there.  On  6th  August,  1844,  he  was  present,  as  one  of  a 
deputation  from  Greenock,  at  the  famous  meeting  with  the  three  sons 
of  Burns  at  Alloway,  presided  over  by  the  Earl  of  Eglinton,  and  on 
that  occasion  was  introduced  to  "  Christopher  North."  Shortly  after- 
wards, on  the  launching  of  the  North  British  Daily  Mail,  "  the  first 
daily  broadsheet  published  in  Scotland,"  he  returned  to  Glasgow  as  its 
business  manager.  In  1855,  the  Mail  having  changed  owners,  he 


352        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

started,  with  some  friends,  the  Glasgow  Daily  Bulletin,  the  first  daily 
newspaper  sold  at  a  penny  in  Britain,  as  well  as  the  Workman,  a 
weekly  paper.  During  the  last  thirty  years  of  his  life  he  lived  chiefly 
in  London,  but  spent  the  summers  at  Tighnabruaich,  on  the  Kyles  of 
Bute.  He  died  at  his  town  residence,  South  Kensington,  in 
September,  1897. 

Rae- Brown  was  author  of  a  number  of  volumes  of  poetry.  "  Lyrics 
of  the  Sea  and  Shore,"  published  in  1848,  was  dedicated  to  De  Quincey, 
who  had  come  to  Glasgow  to  be  at  hand  as  a  contributor  to  Taifs 
Magazine,  bought  by  the  proprietors  of  the  Mail.  His  "  Lays  and 
Lyrics"  appeared  in  1859,  "The  Dawn  of  Love"  in  1862,  and  "Noble 
Love"  in  1871.  He  also  wrote  a  good  deal  of  prose.  He  edited  the 
"Scottish  Annual"  in  1859,  and  his  "Glimpses  of  Scottish  Life," 
contributed  to  the  St.  James1  Magazine  in  1874,  afterwards  appeared 
in'  three  volumes.  He  was  author  of  "  The  Wolf  in  the  Fold,"  "  The 
Head  of  the  Clan,"  and  other  serial  tales.  And  he  wrote  the  memoir 
prefixed  to  the  collected  poems  of  James  Macfarlan  in  1882.  A 
selection  of  his  works  was  published  by  Mr.  Alexander  Gardner, 
Paisley,  under  the  title  of  "The  Dawn  of  Love  and  Other  Poems,"  in 
1892,  and  a  short  biography  was  prefixed.  The  two  short  poems  here 
given  are  printed  by  kind  permission  of  the  poet's  representatives. 


SECRETS 

There  is  a  creed  in  every  heart, 

Unsyllabled,  unsung : 
A  creed  that  never  strays  beyond 

The  portals  of  the  tongue. 

There  is  a  name  the  lover  shrines 
'Neath  all  his  hopes  and  fears, 

A  name  that  mingles  with  his  life 
Throughout  the  changing  years. 


COLIN    RAE-BROWN  353 

There  is  a  something  never  breathed, 

Not  even  to  the  dearest — 
A  secret  doubt  or  fond  belief 

That  to  the  heart  lies  nearest. 

Unuttered  and  unfathomed  things, 

Which  we  to  none  impart — 
Or  high  or  low,  or  rich  or  poor — 

Are  hid  in  every  heart. 


"  OLD  TIME  " 

Men  call  me  feeble,  old,  and  grey — 
My  strength  and  vigour  passed  away  ; 

But  strong  and  stalwart  still  am  I, 
Nor  frail  my  step,  nor  dim  mine  eye. 

What  are  a  thousand  years  to  me, 
But  as  a  drop  in  yonder  sea  ! 

I've  not  yet  reached  my  manhood's  prime, 
And  laugh  to  hear  men  say  "  Old  Time." 

Let  centuries  pass  and  ages  roll ! 

The  year  that  my  last  knell  shall  toll 
So  far  away  in  the  future  lies, 

That  ne'er  a  tear  hath  wet  mine  eyes. 

No  !   I  am  joyous,  gay,  and  free, 

Living  a  life  of  jollity  : 
But,  Man,  mark  well  each  passing  chime, 

Thy  stay  is  short  in  the  realms  of  Time. 

2  A 


JAMES  NICHOLSON 

.• 
1822-1897 

BORN  at  Edinburgh,  2ist  October,  1822,  the  son  of  a  working  tailor, 
James  Nicholson  had  early  experiences  of  a  kind  little  likely  to  produce  a 
poet.  In  his  home  "  stinted  meals,  sour  looks,  and  days  of  taciturnity  " 
were  the  rule.  When  he  was  six  years  of  age  the  family  removed  to 
Paisley,  and  amid  worse  poverty,  with  no  more  than  a  single  week's 
schooling,  at  the  age  of  seven  he  was  sent  to  work  in  a  tobacco  factory 
at  a  shilling  a  week.  His  instincts,  however,  were  towards  finer  things. 
He  learned  to  read  by  a  painful  study  of  sign-boards  and  hand-bills 
and  the  books  on  view  in  stationers'  windows ;  and  on  the  household 
removing  to  Strathaven,  he  found  leisure  as  a  herd  boy  to  read  all  the 
books  tie  could  borrow.  Then  he  went  to  Edinburgh,  and  while  he 
learnt  the  tailor's  trade  from  his  grandfather  there,  he  got  the  old  man 
to  set  him  a  copy  of  the  letters  of  the  alphabet  in  writing,  and  so 
acquired  slowly  and  stiffly  the  art  of  penmanship. 

It  was  then,  in  his  nineteenth  year,  that  his  first  verses  appeared  in 
the  Christian  Jotirnal.  Two  years  later  he  married,  set  up  in  business 
with  his  wife's  brother  at  Strathaven,  and  began  the  study  of  botany. 
His  business  proved  only  moderately  successful,  but  in  1853  he 
obtained  the  post  of  foreman  tailor  at  Govan  Workhouse,  then  situated 
in  Eglinton  Street,  Glasgow.  In  this  position  he  remained  till  his  last 
years,  when  he  was  relieved  from  the  more  arduous  part  of  his  duties  in 
the  tailors'  shop.  Even  then  he  continued  his  solicitous  care  of  the 
poorhouse  orphan  bairns,  whom  he  led  for  many  a  ramble  in  the 
country,  and  whose  lot  he  sang  in  one  of  his  happiest  and  tenderest 
sets  of  verses,  "A  faither  to  ye  a'." 

Meanwhile  he  had  not  ceased  to  write.  As  a  contributor  to  the 
Working  Man's  Friend  in  1849  he  gained  some  distinction.  His  first 


JAMES    NICHOLSON  355 

volume  was  a  thin  octavo,  "  Weeds  and  Wildflowers,"  published  in 
1850.  He  had  set  some  store  on  the  possibility  of  selling  this  produc- 
tion in  the  countryside,  but  on  his  setting  forth  with  his  parcel  his 
poetry  was  so  scouted  by  the  farmer's  wife  at  the  first  house  he  called 
at  that  he  tried  no  more.  It  was  his  next  volume,  "  Kilwuddie  and 
Other  Poems,"  published  in  1859,  which  first  struck  public  notice.  In 
1861  appeared  his  "Willie  Waugh,  or  the  Angel  o'  Hame,"  which 
was  enlarged,  in  1884,  with  some  poems  by  his  daughter,  Ellen  C. 
Nicholson.  "Idylls  o'  Hame  and  Other  Poems"  appeared  in  1870, 
followed  by  his  most  successful  volume,  "Tibbie's  Garland,"  of  which 
a  second  edition  was  published  in  1891,  and  a  selection  of  "Poems" 
by  himself  and  his  daughter  was  issued  in  1880.  A  series  of  botanical 
papers  also,  which  he  contributed  to  the  Scottish  Temperance  League 
Journal ',  was  published  under  the  title  of  "  Father  Fernie  the  Botanist  " 
in  1868.  And  another  series  on  astronomy,  contributed  to  the  People's 
Friend,  was  collected  in  1880  under  the  title  of  "  Nightly  Wanderings 
in  the  Garden  of  the  Sky." 

In  1895  the  veteran  poet  was  entertained  at  dinner  by  a  company  of 
friends  and  admirers  in  the  Cockburn  Hotel,  Glasgow,  and  presented 
with  an  address.  The  eulogy  it  contained  must  be  considered  just: — 
"  Unaided  by  birth  or  fortune,  you  have  won  distinction  in  many 
directions.  Your  advocacy  of  Temperance  in  song  and  verse  has  made 
you  the  laureate  of  the  movement ;  your  writings  on  botany  and 
astronomy  have  been  popular  and  stimulating ;  while  your  songs  and 
poems  have  touched  a  chord  in  the  heart  of  the  Scottish  people,  the 
echo  of  which  will  not  quickly  die."  In  the  same  year  Govan 
Parochial  Board  also  presented  the  poet  with  an  address,  in  which  his 
long  and  faithful  services  were  recognised. 

Shortly  after  these  public  acknowledgments  Nicholson  suffered  a 
shock  of  paralysis  which  foreshadowed  his  end.  His  latter  days  were 
cheered  by  a  gift,  in  recognition  of  his  literary  work,  of  ^150  from  the 
Government  of  Lord  Rosebery.  But  he  did  not  live  long  to  enjoy  the 
honour.  He  died  at  the  schoolhouse,  Merryflats,  the  house  of  his 
daughter,  24th  September,  1897. 

Among  other  qualities,  Nicholson's  vein  of  humour  was  singularly 
happy,  and  as  a  master  of  the  pathos  of  the  child  life  of  the  streets  he 
remains  without  a  rival.  The  best  account  of  his  life  is  one  prefixed  to 
his  Kilwuddie  volume,  from  the  pen  of  the  Rev.  Alexander  Macleod, 


356        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

afterwards  of  Birkenhead,  to  whom  the  poet  owed  much  encourage- 
ment in  his  earliest  efforts.  An  excellent  portrait  of  Nicholson  in  his 
prime  is  in  possession  of  his  daughter,  to  whom  the  present  writer  is 
indebted  for  many  of  the  details  given  here,  and  for  kind  permission  to 
reproduce  the  poet's  work.  Several  of  his  volumes  are  extremely 
scarce,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  a  collected  edition  may  be  given  to 
the  public. 

IMPH-M 

When  I  was  a  laddie  langsyne  at  the  schule 
The  maister  aye  ca'd  me  a  dunce  and  a  fule ; 
For  somehow  his  words  I  could  ne'er  understan', 
Unless  when  he  bawled,  "Jarme>  haud  oot  yer  han' ! " 
Then  I  gloomed,  and  said  "  Imph-m," — 
I  glunched,  and  said  "  Imph-m  " — 
I  wasna  owre  proud,  but  owre  dour  to  say  Aye. 

Ae  day  a  queer  word,  as  lang-nebbit's  himsel', 
He  vowed  he  wad  thrash  me  if  I  wadna  spell. 
Quo'  I,  "  Maister  Quill,"  wi'  a  kin'  o'  a  swither, 
"  I'll  spell  ye  the  word  if  ye'll  spell  me  anither — 

Let's  hear  ye  spell  Imph-m, 

That  common  word  Imph-m, 
That  auld  Scots  word  Imph-m,  ye  ken  it  means  Aye." 

Had  ye  seen  hoo  he  glow'red,  hoo  he  scratched  his  big  pate, 
And  shouted,  "  Ye  villain,  get  oot  o'  my  gate ! 
Get  aff  to  yer  seat !  ye're  the  plague  o'  the  schule  ! 
The  dei)  o'  me  kens  if  ye're  maist  rogue  or  fule  ! " 

But  I  only  said  "  Imph-m  " — 

That  pawkie  word  Imph-m  : 
He  couldna  spell  Imph-m,  that  stands  for  an  Aye. 


JAMES   NICHOLSON  357 

And  when,  a  brisk  wooer,  I  courted  my  Jean, 
O'  Avon's  braw  lasses  the  pride  and  the  queen, 
When  'neath  my  grey  plaidie  wi'  heart  beatin'  fain, 
I  speired  in  a  whisper  if  she'd  be  my  ain, 

She  blushed,  and  said  "  Imph-m," 

That  charming  word  Imph-m — 
A  thousan'  times  better  and  sweeter  than  Aye. 

And  noo  I'm  a  dad  wi'  a  hoose  o'  my  ain, 
A  dainty  bit  wife,  and  mair  than  ae  wean  ; 
But  the  warst  o't  is  this — when  a  question  I  speir, 
They  pit  on  a  look  sae  auldfarran'  and  queer, 

But  only  say  "  Imph-m," 

That  daft-like  word  Imph-m, 
That  vulgar  word  Imph-m  ! — they  winna  say  Aye. 

Ye've  heard  hoo  the  deil,  as  he  wauchled  through  Beith, 
Wi'  a  wife  in  ilk  oxter,  and  ane  in  his  teeth, 
When  some  ane  cried  oot,  "  Will  ye  tak'  mine  the  morn  ?  " 
He  wagged  his  auld  tail  while  he  cockit  his  horn, 

But  only  said  "  Imph-m," 

That  usefu'  word  Imph-m — 
Wi'  sic  a  big  mouthfu'  he  couldna  say  Aye. 

So  I've  gi'en  owre  the  Imph-m — it's  no  a  nice  word ; 

When  printed  on  paper  it's  perfect  absurd  : 

So  if  ye're  owre  lazy  to  open  your  jaw, 

Just  haud  ye  your  tongue,  and  say  naething  ava' ; 

But  never  say  Imph-m — 

That  daft-like  word  Imph-m  : 
It's  ten  times  mair  vulgar  than  even  braid  Aye. 


JOHN   YOUNG 

. 
1825- 

ONE  of  the  few  rare  instances  in  which  poetry  has  rescued  its  composer 
from  abject  circumstances  was  that  of  John  Young.  He  was  born 
in  the  Blue  Raw,  Campsie,  i;th  November,  1825,  but  the  humble 
household  presently  removed  to  the  north-west  quarter  of  Glasgow, 
where  his  father  began  business  as  a  cowfeeder  and  small  contractor. 
The  poet  himself  followed  the  occupation  of  a  carter,  and  married  at 
the  age  of  twenty-three.  A  burning  accident,  however,  five  years  later, 
maimed  his  hand  and  almost  totally  blinded  him,  and  he  was  forced  to 
take  refuge  in  the  poorhouse.  Within  its  walls,  inspired  by  the  eager 
hope  of  winning  his  way  to  the  outer  world  again,  he  turned  his  poetic 
faculty  to  account.  By  the  help  of  friends  his  "  Lays  from  the  Poor- 
house  "  was  liberally  subscribed  for,  and  when  the  book  was  published 
in  1860,  it  enabled  him  to  leave  the  walls  within  which  he  had  been 
immured  for  six  years.  Four  years  later  he  followed  up  his  success 
with  another  production — "  Lays  from  the  Ingle  Nook,"  in  the  preface 
to  which  he  described  with  genial  philosophy  the  "inconceivable 
number  of  stair-mountings  and  bell-pullings  "  which  had  enabled  him 
to  attain  his  object.  Other  volumes  followed,  which  served  the  double 
purpose  of  eking  out  a  humble  livelihood  for  their  author,  and  of  earn- 
ing him  a  modest  place  on  Parnassus.  There  have  been  better-known 
poets  whose  lives  and  verses  lacked  the  homely  wisdom  of  this  humble 
poorhouse  bard. 


JOHN    YOUNG  359 


MY  FIRST  BREEKS 

When  I  was  a  younker,  and  bade  wi'  my  granny, 

A  gey  steerin'  cowt,  as  a  body  may  trow, 
Frae  mornin'  to  nicht  into  mischief  I  ran  aye, 

And  aye  gat  the  waur  as  the  aulder  I  grew. 
I  then  was  in  coats,  though  a  thump  o'  a  callan, 

And  aye  keepit  granny,  puir  body,  in  steeks, 
Till  time,  wha's  aye  fleein,  though  aften  a-killin', 

Cam'  roun'  wi'  the  nicht  that  gied  me  my  first  breeks. 

I  stood  at  the  door  watchin'  Sandy  the  tailor, 

And  soon  as  the  body  cam'  into  my  view, 
I  ran  aff  to  meet  him,  hurrahed  like  a  sailor, 

And,  seizin'  the  breeks,  back  to  granny  I  flew. 
I  gat  them  drawn  on,  hansell'd  too  in  a  blinkie, 

While  granny  in  a'  ways  was  pleased  wi'  their  worth : 
Wi'  them  'neath  my  head,  though  I  bowed  na  a  winkie, 

I  wadna  changed  places  wi'  Willie  the  Fourth. 

I  grew  up  to  man,  and  wi'  cares  gat  entangled, 

And  fand  that  this  life  was  a  drag  and  a  draw, 
And  that  the  imprudent,  unsteady,  new-fangled, 

Aye  stuck,  or  were  kicked  through  wi'  naething  ava'. 
Sae  wi'  a  leal  heart  I  wooed  fortune,  the  kimmer, 

Was  whiles  up  or  down,  as  it  fitted  her  freaks, 
And  when  ocht  gaed  wrang  I  aye  ca'ed  her  a  limmer, 

And  sighed  for  the  days  when  I  wore  my  first  breeks. 


360        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

Sin'  then  I've  drawn  on  twa  three  pair  on  my  hurdies, 

Some  gude  anes,  some  ill,  as  it  happened  to  fa', 
And  whiles,  mair's  the  pity,  believe  ye,  my  wordies, 

'Twas  just  a'  the  tear  I  had  ony  ava'. 
Be  that  as  it  may,  I've  had  moleskin  and  plaiden, 

And  braid  cloth,  and  tartan  wi'  some  gaudy  streaks  ; 
But  ne'er  had  a  pair  that  I  took  sic  delight  in, 

Or  wore  me  sae  weel  as  thae  hamer-made  breeks. 

I've  lived  thretty  years,  and  a  bit  to  the  tail  o't, 

And  as  I  look  back  o'er  the  path  I  hae  trod, 
I'm  fain  to  confess  noo  that,  had  I  the  wale  o't, 

I'd  choose  me  a  strauchter  and  cannier  road. 
But  wise  'hint  the  han'  is  a  trait  o'  my  kintra, 

Though  mair  than  the  Scots  hae  their  ain  bits  o'  freaks, 
And,  frae  the  Land's  End  to  the  bleak  hills  o'  Fintry, 

We've  a'  been  maist  happy  when  in  our  first  breeks. 


JAMES  P.  CRAWFORD 

1825-1887 

ON  a  September  Sunday  afternoon  in  1855,  in  a  certain  United  Presby- 
terian church  in  Glasgow,  instead  of  listening  to  the  sermon  of  the 
minister,  James  P.  Crawford  composed  the  poem  by  which  he  is  likely 
to  be  long  remembered.  "The  Drunkard's  Raggit  Wean,"  simple, 
true,  and  touching,  became  at  once  popular,  and  remains  perhaps  the 
most  successful  lyric  of  the  temperance  movement  of  its  time. 

Crawford  was  born  in  the  Ayrshire  village  of  Catrine,  I4th  June, 
1825.  At  the  age  of  fifteen  he  removed  with  his  family  to  Glasgow, 
and,  to  perfect  himself  in  his  father's  trade  of  tailor,  he  wrought  for  a 
time  in  London  and  Paris.  For  over  a  quarter  of  a  century  he  carried 
on  a  tailor's  business  in  the  city,  and  only  relinquished  it  on  receiving 
an  appointment  as  one  of  the  registrars  of  Govan,  of  the  Parochial 
Board  of  which  he  had  been  a  member  since  1856.  He  died  at  Ibrox, 
Govan,  I3th  February,  1887,  survived  by  a  widow  and  seven  sons  and 
daughters. 

The  poet  possessed  a  keen  sense  of  humour,  and  dearly  loved  a  joke, 
even  when  it  told  against  himself.  He  had  also  a  very  real  sympathy 
with  the  poor,  who  constantly  found  help  at  his  hands.  Among  those 
who  had  reason  to  thank  him  was  that  other  true  poet,  but  shiftless  and 
dissipated  character,  James  Macfarlan. 

Crawford's  best-known  lyric,  here  reprinted,  was  published  first  in 
The  Crystal  Fount,  a  temperance  song  book,  of  which  33,000  copies  were 
sold  in  little  more  than  a  year.  Other  seventeen  thousand  copies  of 
the  poem  were  also  rapidly  sold  in  penny  sheets.  Miss  Dougall  sang 
the  piece  in  Glasgow  City  Hall  with  extraordinary  effect.  Under  the 
pseudonym  of  "Paul  Rookford"  he  also  wrote  "Bright  Water  for 
Me,"  and  many  pieces  with  the  true  ring  of  poetry  in  other  veins. 
His  productions  were  never  published  in  volume  form,  but  he  left  a 


362         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

considerable  mass  of  MSS.,  as  well  as  an  excellent  portrait,  in  the 
hands  of  his  daughter,  to  whom  the  present  writer  is  indebted  for 
details  of  the  poet's  life.  Accounts  of  his  career,  including  several  of 
his  poems,  were  printed  in  the  Glasgow  Weekly  Herald  of  igth  March, 
and  the  People's  Friend,  of  3oth  March,  1887. 


THE  DRUNKARD'S  RAGGIT  WEAN 

A  wee  bit  raggit  laddie  gangs  wan'rin'  through  the  street, 
Wadin'  'mang  the  snaw  wi'  his  wee  hackit  feet, 
Shiverin'  i'  the  cauld  blast,  greetin'  wi'  the  pain — 
Wha's  the  puir  wee  callan  ?     He's  a  drunkard's  raggit  wean. 

He  Stan's  at  ilka  door,  an'  keeks  wi'  wistfu'  e'e 

To  see  the  crowd  aroun'  the  fire  a'  laughin'  loud  wi'  glee ; 

But  he  daurna  venture  ben,  though  his  heart   be  e'er  sae 

fain, 
For  he  mauna  play  wi'  ither  bairns,  the  drunkard's  raggit 

wean. 

Oh,  see  the  wee  bit  bairnie,  his  heart  is  unco  fu', 

The  sleet  is  blawin'  cauld,  and  he's  droukit  through  and 

through ; 
He's  speerin'   for  his  mither,  an'  he  won'ers  whare  she's 

gane: 
But  oh !  his  mither,  she  forgets  her  puir  wee  raggit  wean. 

He  kens  nae  faither's  love,  and  he  kens  nae  mither's  cart, 
To  soothe  his  wee  bit  sorrows,  or  kaim  his  tautit  hair, 
To  kiss  him  when  he  waukens,  or  smooth  his  bed  at  e'en ; 
An'  oh  !  he  fears  his  faither's  face,  the  drunkard's  raggit 
wean. 


JAMES    P.   CRAWFORD          363 

Oh,  pity  the  wee  laddie,  sae  guileless  an'  sae  young ! 
The  oath  that  lea's  the  faither's  lips  '11  settle  on  his  tongue, 
An'  sinfu'  words  his  mither  speaks  his  infant  lips  '11  stain ; 
For  oh!   there's  nane  to  guide  the  bairn,  the  drunkard's 
raggit  wean. 

Then  surely  we  micht  try  an'  turn  that  sinfu'  mither's  heart, 

An'  try  to  get  his  faither  to  act  a  faither's  part, 

An'  mak'  them  lea'   the  drunkard's   cup,   an'  never   taste 

again, 
An'  cherish  wi'  a  parents'  care  their  puir  wee  raggit  wean. 


DAVID   WINGATE 

1828-1892 

IF  proof  were  needed  that  the  poet  is  much  more  the  creator  than  the 
creature  of  circumstances  it  might  be  found  in  the  life  of  David 
Wingate.  Born  at  Cowglen,  near  Pollokshaws,  4th  January,  1828,  he 
lost  his  father  by  a  fire-damp  explosion  when  he  was  five  years  of  age. 
His  advantages  of  education  were  three  years  only  at  the  parish  school. 
At  the  age  of  nine  he  descended  the  pit,  and  he  toiled  in  the  darkness 
of  the  coal-seams  during  the  best  years  of  his  life.  Yet  few  Scottish 
poets  have  sung  a  sweeter,  purer,  or  more  tender  song.  His  poetry 
must  be  compared  to  the  spring  welling  up  limpid  clear  from  the  dark 
bosom  of  the  earth,  with  the  gleam  of  a  jewel  in  its  pellucid  depths. 

From  his  earliest  years  Wingate  showed  a  strong  liking  for  natural 
things.  He  used  to  tell  how  as  a  child  in  Cowglen  he  liked  to  sup  his 
morning  "  parritch  "  seated  by  a  haystack  with  a  favourite  kitten  on  his 
shoulder.  He  also  told  of  a  walk  to  Edinburgh,  undertaken  when  he 
and  his  companions  had  just  enough  among  them  to  provide  a  scone 
apiece,  and  when  he,  as  the  youngest  and  most  likely  to  excite 
sympathy,  was  deputed  to  ask  some  milk  at  a  wayside  farm.  On  such 
rambles,  a  few  years  later,  he  used  to  carry  his  plaid  that  he  might 
spend  the  night  outside  if  need  were.  Wild  flowers  were  his  hobby, 
and  he  used  to  astonish  his  neighbour  miners  with  the  posies  he  would 
bring  home. 

As  with  other  poets  from  time  immemorial,  Wingate's  song  faculty 
seems  to  have  wakened  at  the  dawn  of  love.  He  married  at  the  age  of 
twenty- two,  and  in  the  same  year  the  genial  "  Rambler,"  Hugh 
Macdonald,  discovered  the  merits  of  his  poems,  which  had  appeared  in 
the  Hamilton  Advertiser,  and  brought  him  to  public  notice  in  the 
Glasgow  Citizen.  It  was  not,  however,  till  1862  that  his  first  volume, 
"  Poems  and  Songs,"  appeared.  It  attracted  attention  at  once,  and  an 


DAVID   WINGATE  365 

article  by  Lord  Neaves  in  Blackivootfs  Magazine,  set  a  seal  upon  the 
poet's  reputation.  Of  one  piece  in  the  volume — "  My  Little  Wife" — 
the  reviewer  said,  "  There  are  few  verses  in  the  language  more  pure, 
tender,  and  musical,  nor  any  love-utterance  we  can  remember  more 
refined  and  delicate  in  its  simplicity  than  this  charming  little  poem. 
Montrose  himself  could  not  have  set  his  lady  more  apart  from  all  the 
evils  of  common  thought  than  this  collier-lover  sets  the  humble  maiden 
who  has  given  him  her  modest  heart." 

The  publication  of  this  volume  and  his  next,  "  Annie  Weir,"  in  1866, 
not  only  brought  the  poet  reputation  and  the  acquaintance  of  men  of 
letters,  but  gave  him  the  means  of  attending  the  Glasgow  School  of 
Mines;  and  on  the  passing  of  the  Coal  Mines  Regulation  Act  in  1872 
he  received  a  certificate  which  enabled  him  to  take  the  position  of 
colliery  manager,  which  he  filled  successively  at  Craigneuk,  Garscadden, 
Cambuslang,  Omoa,  and  Tollcross.  His  occupation  was  now  less 
exacting,  and  he  was  able  to  write  not  only  occasional  poetry,  which 
appeared  in  Blackivood's  Magazine,  Good  Words,  and  other  periodicals, 
but  a  good  deal  of  prose,  in  the  form  of  stories  for  the  Glasgow  Weekly 
Herald.  His  third  volume,  "  Lily  Neil  and  other  Poems,"  appeared 
in  1879.  It  was  followed  in  1883  by  "Poems  and  Songs,"  and  in 
1890  by  a  volume  of  "Selected  Poems."  A  considerable  number 
of  his  pieces  also  appeared  in  the  volumes  of  the  Glasgow  Ballad 
Club,  of  which  he  was  a  member. 

In  1883,  in  recognition  of  his  literary  work,  Wingate  received  a  Civil 
List  pension  of  £$o,  but  to  the  end  he  retained  the  sturdy  independence 
of  spirit  which  had  carried  him  through  the  rugged  hardships  of  his 
early  days.  His  own  preface  to  his  first  volume  gives  a  better  picture 
of  his  character  than  any  long  description  : — "  What  can  I  say?  Shall 
I  tell  you  I  have  no  learning?  The  book  itself  will  tell  you  that. 
Shall  I  whine,  and  say  to  my  critics,  *  Have  mercy  on  me  ! — think  of 
my  position  in  life  ? '  No,  indeed  !  On  the  contrary,  I  say,  weigh  the 
book  alone.  My  peculiar  circumstances  (if  they  be  peculiar)  have  no 
right  to  go  in  with  it.  If  I  have  sung  badly,  or  thought  sillily,  let  it  be 
no  excuse  for  me  that  I  am  and  have  been  a  collier  since  my  ninth  year. 
If  the  book  has  any  merit  apart  from  whatever  that  fact  may  suggest,  it 
may  live  ;  if  not,  it  deserves  to  die." 

The  poet  was  twice  married.  By  his  first  wife,  Janet  Craig,  he  had 
a  numerous  family,  of  whom  three  sons  and  three  daughters  survived 


366        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

him.  His  second  wife,  Margaret  Thomson,  whom  he  married  in  1879* 
was  a  descendant  of  Robert  Burns.  His  pleasure  was  to  be  with  his 
family.  He  inspired  his  children  with  his  own  taste  for  country  walks 
and  wild  flowers.  And  it  was  his  habit,  while  writing,  not  to  seclude 
himself  from  the  home  circle,  but  to  work  away  amid  the  noise  of  quiet 
conversation.  He  died  at  Mount  Cottage,  Tollcross,  7th  February, 
1892,  and  was  buried  in  Dalziel  churchyard.  For  details  the  present 
writer  is  indebted  to  Mr.  Walter  Wingate,  the  poet's  son. 

. 

MY  LITTLE  WIFE 
My  little  wife  has  two  merry  black  eyes — 

Sweet  little,  dear  little,  daisy-faced  Jane  ! 
And  fifty  young  lads  always  deemed  her  a  prize, 

And  blamed  the  kind  creature  for  causing  them  pain. 
They  all  knew  her  pretty, 
And  some  thought  her  witty, 

But  sware  of  sound  sense  she  was  faultless  and  free, 
Because  the  fair  scoffer 
Refused  every  offer, 
And  secretly  cherished  affection  for  me. 

My  little  wife  has  a  cheek-dimpling  smile — 
Sweet  little,  dear  little,  lily-browed  Jane ! 
A  blythe,  buoyant  nature  that  cares  not  for  toil : 
So  how  could  the  poor  lads  from  loving  refrain  ? 

In  spite  of  her  scorning 

They  wooed  night  and  morning ; 
"The  wild  little  coquette,"  they  cried,  "is  heart-free  !" 

Nor  dreamed  that  she,  weeping, 

While  others  were  sleeping, 
Oft  hopelessly  cherished  affection  for  me. 


DAVID   WINGATE  367 

My  little  wife  weekly  to  the  church  came — 

Sweet  little,  dear  little,  mellow-voiced  Jane  ! 
When  I,  filled  with  equal  devotional  flame, 
Would  glance  at  her  fair  face  again  and  again. 

Sometimes  an  emotion, 

Not  wholly  devotion, 
A  dim,  nameless  thrill  o'er  my  senses  would  flee ; 

And  then,  growing  bolder, 

I  dared  to  behold  her, 
And  wish  that  such  sweetness  would  once  think  of  me. 

My  little  wife  often  round  the  church  hill — 
Sweet  little,  dear  little,  neat-footed  Jane — 
Walked  slowly  and  thoughtful  and  lonely  until 
The  afternoon  bell  chimed  its  call  o'er  the  plain. 

And  nothing  seemed  sweeter 

To  me  than  to  meet  her, 
And  tell  her  what  weather  'twas  likely  to  be ; 

My  heart  the  while  glowing, 

The  selfish  wish  growing, 
That  all  her  affections  were  centred  in  me. 

My  little  wife  once — 'tis  strange  but  'tis  true- 
Sweet  little,  dear  little,  love-troubled  Jane — 
So  deeply  absorbed  in  her  day-dreaming  grew, 

The  bell  chimed  and  ceased,  yet  she  heard  not  its  strain. 

And  I,  walking  near  her 

(May  love  ever  cheer  her 
Who  thinks  all  such  wand'ring  of  sin  void  and  free), 

Strove  hard  to  persuade  her 

That  He  who  had  made  her 
Had  destined  her  heart-love  for  no  one  but  me. 


368         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

My  little  wife — well,  perhaps  this  was  wrong — 
Sweet  little,  dear  little,  warm-hearted  Jane — 
Sat  on  the  hillside  till  her  shadow  grew  long, 
Nor  tired  of  the  preacher  who  thus  could  detain. 

I  argued  so  neatly, 

And  proved  so  completely 
That  none  but  poor  Andrew  her  husband  could  be. 

She  smiled  when  I  blessed  her, 

And  blushed  when  I  kissed  her, 
And  owned  that  she  loved  and  could  wed  none  but  me. 

My  little  wife  is  not  always  quite  sure — 

Sweet  little,  dear  little,  hearth-cheering  Jane — 
That  joy  will  not  tarry  where  people  are  poor, 
But  only  where  wealth  and  her  satellites  reign. 
In  each  baby  treasure 
She  finds  a  new  pleasure : 
If  purse  and  demand  should  by  chance  disagree, 

She  smiles,  bravely  humming, 
"  A  better  time's  coming," 
And  trusts  in  good  health,  in  the  future,  and  me. 


ALEXANDER   SMITH 

1829-1867 

IN  1851  lovers  of  literature  had  their  interest  suddenly  quickened  by  the 
announcement  in  the  London  Critic  that  a  new  great  poet  was  about 
to  appear.  The  announcement  was  made  by  the  Rev.  George  Gilfillan, 
at  that  time  perhaps  the  best-known  Scottish  man  of  letters.  Striking 
passages  were  printed  from  the  new  poet,  and  a  glowing  eulogy 
whetted  public  taste.  When  the  promised  volume,  "  A  Life  Drama 
and  Other  Poems,"  did  at  last  appear,  it  was  received  with  a  rage  of 
enthusiasm.  Its  author,  Alexander  Smith,  was  hailed  as  the  greatest 
poet  of  the  day,  and  was  lionised  in  London  and  entertained  at 
Inveraray  Castle  by  the  Duke  ot  Argyle.  Soon,  however,  a  revulsion 
of  feeling  occurred.  It  was  perceived  that  the  "  Life  Drama "  dis- 
played more  violence  than  real  force.  In  spite  of  its  many  wild 
beauties  it  was  decried  as  much  as  it  had  been  praised.  Professor 
Aytoun,  first  in  Blackwood  and  afterwards  in  his  "  Firmilian,"  turned 
the  poet's  style  to  ridicule,  and  borrowing  a  word  which  Carlyle  had 
applied  to  Byron,  gibbetted  Smith,  Dobell,  and  "  Festus  "  Bailey  as 
apostles  of  the  "  Spasmodic  School." 

By  all  this,  it  is  clear  now,  a  real  injustice  was  done  to  Smith. 
Gilfillan's  praise  was  as  injudicious  as  it  was  extravagant  and  premature. 
Its  result  was  that  the  poet  was  brought  to  the  bar  of  public  judgment, 
and  condemned,  upon  the  first  unequal  flights  of  his  youth,  and  that 
his  later  and  greater  work  suffered  from  a  popular  prejudice.  The 
epithet  "Spasmodic"  has  stuck,  as  such  things  do;  but  the  fact 
remains  that  Smith's  hand  at  the  time  struck  a  note  new  in  poetry,  that 
his  verse  dealt,  on  its  own  initiative,  with  the  living  problems  of  life, 
and  that  it  remains  distinct,  with  a  voice  juvenile,  perhaps,  but  its  own, 
and  vital  to  the  present  hour. 
2B 


370        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Smith's  father  was  a  pattern  designer,  his  mother,  whose  name  was 
Murray,  was  descended  from  a  good  Highland  family.  The  poet  was 
born  in  Kilmarnock  on  the  last  day  of  1829,  and  received  his  schooling 
in  that  town.  He  was  intended  at  first,  like  so  many  intelligent 
Scottish  lads,  for  the  ministry,  but  a  severe  illness  put  an  end  to  the 
project,  and  he  entered  his  father's  trade.  The  family  had  by  this 
time  removed  to  Glasgow,  and  there,  while  the  lad  designed  patterns  for 
lace  collars,  he  wrought  his  early  imaginings  into  verse.  At  that  time 
Dr.  Hedderwick's  paper,  the  Glasgow  Citizen,  was  gathering  the 
literary  promise  of  Glasgow  about  it,  and  Smith's  first  productions 
appeared  in  its  columns.  In  1853,  as  has  been  already  said,  his 
first  volume  was  published.  The  greater  part  of  it  consisted  of  a 
blank-verse  piece  in  thirteen  scenes,  entitled  "A  Life  Drama,"  and  it 
was  upon  this,  with  its  singular  wealth  of  new  and  startling  images, 
that  the  poet's  fame  shot  up  like  a  rocket.  Here  at  last,  it  seemed, 
was  the  maker  who  was  to  invest  the  scenes  of  modern  life  with  the 
poetic  glamour  of  a  golden  age.  A  similar  furore  had  in  1839  greeted 
the  appearance  of  the  "Festus"  of  Philip  James  Bailey — an  alumnus 
of  Glasgow  University — and  the  first  extravagant  rage  was  to  be 
followed,  as  in  the  case  of  "  Festus,"  with  a  long  neglect. 

Meanwhile  Smith  received  for  his  poem  from  Bogue,  the  publisher,  the 
sum  of  ;£ioo,  and  was  in  1854  appointed  Secretary  to  Edinburgh 
University.  His  salary  was  ^150,  raised  presently  to  ^200,  and  he 
settled  down  to  the  life  of  a  man  of  letters  in  the  Scottish  capital. 

It  was  the  time  of  the  struggle  in  the  Crimea,  and  along  with  Sidney 
Dobell  he  produced  in  1855  a  volume  of  "  Sonnets  on  the  War."  Two 
years  later  appeared  what  must  be  considered  his  best  poetic  work,  the 
volume  of  "  City  Poems,"  whose  warm  richness  of  colour  drew  from 
Gerald  Massey  the  epithet  for  its  author  of  the  "Rubens  among 
poets." 

Now,  at  the  climax  of  his  achievement,  he  married  Flora  Macdonald, 
a  descendant  of  the  famous  heroine. J  Then  a  great  eclipse  befell  the 
young  author.  For  four  years  he  devoted  himself  to  the  composition 
of  a  poem  which  should  be  his  masterpiece — "  Edwin  of  Deira."  But 
before  the  work  appeared,  in  1861,  it  had  been  forestalled  in  its  own 


1  It  was  while  accompanying  Horatio  M'Culloch  on  a  painting  expedition  to  Skye 
that  Smith  met  his  wife.     The  artist  had  a  wife  from  the  same  family. 


ALEXANDER   SMITH  371 

field  by  Tennyson's  "Idylls  of  the  King."  This  fact  seemed  to 
clinch  a  formidable  charge  of  plagiarism  which  had  recently  been 
brought  against  the  Scottish  poet.  For  his  whole  labour  Smith  received 
only  a  sum  of  ,£15,  and  with  the  same  good  sense  as  Scott,  when  he 
confessed  naively  to  a  friend  that  Byron  "bate"  him,  he  turned 
from  poetry  to  the  composition  of  prose.  Besides  contributing  to 
the  "  Encyclopaedia  Britannica,"  Mackenzie's  biographical,  and 
Chambers's  encyclopaedias,  writing  for  Blackwood s  and  other 
magazines,  and  doing  a  good  deal  of  work  for  the  daily  press,  he 
produced  a  succession  of  memorable  books.  In  1863  he  published 
a  volume  of  his  essays  under  the  name  "  Dreamthorp."  In  1865, 
besides  his  fine  memoir  and  edition  of  Burns,  appeared  his  best  prose 
work,  "A  Summer  in  Skye."  Then,  in  1866,  he  entered  the  field  of 
Scottish  domestic  fiction  with  the  touching  tale  of  "Alfred  Haggart's 
Household,"  and  its  sequel,  "Miss  Dona  M'Quarrie." 

But  already  his  race  was  run.  Exhausted  by  the  effort  to  mairiain 
the  reputation  and  social  place  which  had  been  prematurely  thrust  upon 
him,  he  was  seized  with  typhoid  fever  and  diphtheria,  and  died  at 
Wardie,  near  Edinburgh,  5th  January,  1867.  He  lies  in  Warriston 
Cemetery,  and  a  tall  lona  cross,  with  a  medallion  portrait,  marks  his 
grave.  A  year  after  his  death  appeared  his  "  Last  Leaves,"  a  volume 
of  sketches  and  criticisms,  with  a  portrait  and  a  memoir  by  Patrick 
Proctor  Alexander.  Another  account  of  the  author  is  contained  in 
"  The  Early  Years  of  Alexander  Smith,"  by  the  Rev.  T.  Brisbane,  an 
acquaintance  of  his  youth,  published  in  1869. 

Smith  was  of  middle  height,  and  had  a  massive  forehead,  but  his 
expression  was  marred  by  an  extreme  squint  in  the  right  eye.  One  of 
the  most  sensitive  and  modest  of  men,  he  did  not  shine  in  conversation 
or  in  company,  and  showed  no  flash  of  anecdote  or  repartee.  Yet, 
says  Dr.  Hedderwick,  who  knew  him  well,  his  strong  good  sense  was 
unquestionable,  he  was  not  without  a  certain  quiet  vein  of  humour,  and 
possessed  great  warmth  and  depth  of  affection.  His  prose  has  a 
peculiar  poetic  charm  of  its  own,  and  his  "City  Poems"  merit  a 
wider  fame  than  they  have  yet  received.  That  on  Glasgow  is 
characteristic,  and  remains  by  far  the  best  poetic  description  extant  of 
the  city. 


372          THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


GLASGOW 

Sing,  Poet,  'tis  a  merry  world ; 

That  cottage  smoke  is  rolled  and  curled 

In  sport ;  that  every  moss 
Is  happy,  every  inch  of  soil : — 
Before  me  runs  a  road  of  toil 

With  my  grave  cut  across. 
Sing  trailing  showers  and  breezy  downs — 
I  know  the  tragic  heart  of  towns. 

City  !  I  am  true  son  of  thine : 

Ne'er  dwelt  I  where  great  mornings  shine 

Around  the  bleating  pens  : 
Ne'er  by  the  rivulets  I  strayed, 
And  ne'er  upon  my  childhood  weighed 

The  silence  of  the  glens. 
Instead  of  shores  where  ocean  beats 
I  hear  the  ebb  and  flow  of  streets. 

Black  Labour  draws  his  weary  waves 
Into  their  secret-moaning  caves ; 

But  with  the  morning  light 
That  sea  again  will  overflow 
With  a  long,  weary  sound  of  woe, 

Again  to  faint  in  night. 
Wave  am  I  in  that  sea  of  woes, 
Which  night  and  morning  ebbs  and  flows. 


ALEXANDER   SMITH  373 

I  dwelt  within  a  gloomy  court 
Wherein  did  never  sunbeam  sport ; 

Yet  there  my  heart  was  stirred — 
My  very  blood  did  dance  and  thrill 
When  on  my  narrow  window  sill 

Spring  lighted  like  a  bird. 
Poor  flowers !  I  watched  them  pine  for  weeks 
With  leaves  as  pale  as  human  cheeks. 

Afar,  one  summer,  I  was  borne ; 
Through  golden  vapours  of  the  morn 

I  heard  the  hills  of  sheep  : 
I  trod  with  a  wild  ecstasy 
The  bright  fringe  of  the  living  sea, 

And  on  a  ruined  keep 
I  sat  and  watched  an  endless  plain 
Blacken  beneath  the  gloom  of  rain. 

O  fair  the  lightly  sprinkled  waste 

O'er  which  a  laughing  shower  has  raced 

O  fair  the  April  shoots  ! 
O  fair  the  woods  on  summer  days, 
While  a  blue  hyacinthine  haze 

Is  dreaming  round  the  roots  ! 
In  thee,  O  City,  I  discern 
Another  beauty  sad  and  stern. 

Draw  thy  fierce  streams  of  blinding  ore, 
Smite  on  a  thousand  anvils,  roar 
Down  to  the  harbour  bars  ; 


374        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Smoulder  in  smoky  sunsets,  flare 

On  rainy  nights,  with  street  and  square 

Lie  empty  to  the  stars. 
From  terrace  proud  to  alley  base 
I  know  thee  as  my  mother's  face. 

When  sunset  bathes  thee  in  his  gold 

In  wreaths  of  bronze  thy  sides  are  rolled, 

Thy  smoke  is  dusky  fire ; 
And,  from  the  glory  round  thee  poured, 
A  sunbeam,  like  an  angel's  sword, 

Shivers  upon  a  spire. 

Thus  have  I  watched  thee,  Terror  !  Dream  ! 
While  the  blue  Night  crept  up  the  stream. 

The  wild  train  plunges  in  the  hills, 
He  shrieks  across  the  midnight  rills ; 

Streams  through  the  shifting  glare 
The  roar  and  flap  of  foundry  fires, 
That  shake  with  light  the  sleeping  shires 

And  on  the  moorlands  bare 
He  sees  afar  a  crown  of  light 
Hung  o'er  thee  in  the  hollow  night. 

At  midnight,  when  thy  suburbs  lie 
As  silent  as  a  noonday  sky, 

When  larks  with  heat  are  mute, 
I  love  to  linger  on  thy  bridge, 
All  lonely  as  a  mountain  ridge, 

Disturbed  but  by  my  foot ; 
While  the  black,  lazy  stream  beneath 
Steals  from  its  far-off  wilds  of  heath. 


ALEXANDER   SMITH  375 

And  through  thy  heart,  as  through  a  dream, 
Flows  on  that  black,  disdainful  stream  ; 

All  scornfully  it  flows, 
Between  the  huddled  gloom  of  masts, 
Silent  as  pines  unvexed  by  blasts — 

'Tween  lamps  in  streaming  rows. 
O  wondrous  sight !  O  stream  of  dread  ! 

0  long,  dark  river  of  the  dead  ! 

Afar,  the  banner  of  the  year 
Unfurls ;  but  dimly  prisoned  here, 

Tis  only  when  I  greet 
A  dropt  rose  lying  in  my  way, 
A  butterfly  that  flutters  gay 

Athwart  the  noisy  street, 

1  know  the  happy  summer  smiles 
Around  thy  suburbs,  miles  on  miles. 

Twere  neither  paean  now,  nor  dirge, 
The  flash  and  thunder  of  the  surge 

On  flat  sands  wide  and  bare ; 
No  haunting  joy  or  anguish  dwells 
In  the  green  light  of  sunny  dells 

Or  in  the  starry  air. 
Alike  to  me  the  desert  flower, 
The  rainbow  laughing  o'er  the  shower. 

While  o'er  thy  walls  the  darkness  sails, 
I  lean  against  the  churchyard  rails ; 
Up  in  the  midnight  towers 


376        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

The  belfried  spire ;  the  street  is  dead  ; 
I  hear  in  silence  overhead 

The  clang  of  iron  hours. 
It  moves  me  not — I  know  her  tomb 
Is  yonder  in  the  shapeless  gloom. 

All  raptures  of  this  mortal  breath, 
Solemnities  of  life  and  death, 

Dwell  in  thy  noise  alone  ; 
Of  me  thou  hast  become  a  part — 
Some  kindred  with  my  human  heart 

Lives  in  thy  streets  of  stone ; 
For  we  have  been  familiar  more 
Than  galley-slave  and  weary  oar. 

The  beech  is  dipped  in  wine ;  the  shower 
Is  burnished ;  on  the  swinging  flower 

The  latest  bee  doth  sit. 
The  low  sun  stares  through  dust  of  gold, 
And  o'er  the  darkening  heath  and  wold 

The  large  ghost-moth  doth  flit. 
In  every  orchard  autumn  stands 
With  apples  in  his  golden  hands. 

But  all  these  sights  and  sounds  are  strange, 
Then  wherefore  from  thee  should  I  range  ? 

Thou  hast  my  kith  and  kin, 
My  childhood,  youth,  and  manhood  brave — 
Thou  hast  that  unforgotten  grave 

Within  thy  central  din.  r 
A  sacredness  of  love  and  death 
Dwells  in  thy  noise  and  smoky  breath. 


JAMES    MACFARLAN 

1832-1862 

AT  the  Garrick  Club,  on  a  night  in  1859,  Samuel  Lover,  lately 
returned  from  the  celebration  of  the  Burns  Centenary  at  Glasgow, 
recited  a  poem  which  he  had  picked  up  there.  It  was  by  a  Glasgow 
author,  and  was  entitled  "The  Lords  of  Labour."  As  the  piece 
ended  Thackeray  sprang  to  his  feet  with  the  excited  exclamation,  "  Not 
Burns  himself  could  have  taken  the  wind  out  of  this  man's  sails  ! " 

The  poet  whose  composition  elicited  such  'enthusiastic  commendation 
was  in  real  life  a  startling  paradox.  His  character  has  been  described 
by  another  true  son  of  song1: — "  It  ever  a  human  being  breathed  in 
whom  the  divine  fire  burned  with  unquenchable  flame,  that  man  was 
the  ragged,  unkempt,  mean-looking  tramp,  who  from  dingy  garrets 
and  common  lodging-houses  in  the  slums  of  Glasgow  sent  forth  to  the 
world  such  beautiful  lyrics  as  'The  Poet,'  'The  Ruined  City,'  and 
that  superb  piece  of  marching  music,  '  The  Lords  of  Labour.'  " 

Charles  Rogers,  who  knew  the  man,  describes  him  further  in  his 
"Century  of  Scottish  Life": — "He  was  a  poet  born,  yet  rags, 
meanness,  leasing,  and  drink  were  also  in  a  manner  native  to  him. 
Having  read  some  of  Macfarlan's  verses,  I  desired  to  form  his 
acquaintance,  and  I  met  him  by  appointment  at  the  office  of  the 
Glasgow  Bulletin,  some  time  in  1856.  Our  interview  was  short,  and 
had  I  chanced  to  meet  him  prior  to  reading  his  verses,  it  would  have  been 
shorter  still.  Appearance  of  genius  he  had  none.  Of  slender  form, 
tattered  garments,  and  commonplace  features,  he  seemed  every  inch 
the  gaberlunzie.  Nor  did  his  manner  of  conversation  tend  to  modify 
this  impression.  Low  society  he  loved,  and  his  best  verses  were 
written  amidst  the  fumes  of  tobacco  and  drink.  His  muse  was  always 


iThe  late  James  M.  Slimmon,  of  Kirkintilloch,  author  of  "A  Dead  Planet  and 
other  Poems." 


378        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

ready,  and  on  the  margins  of  old  newspapers,  amidst  the  distractions  of 
a  taproom,  he  would  inscribe  admirable  verses.  With  equal  promptitude 
he  could  invent  a  tale  of  distress,  or  feign  a  family  bereavement,  to 
obtain  sixpence." 

Such  a  man  was  the  Pedlar  Poet,  who,  but  for  the  utter  abjectness 
and  lack  of  gaiety  in  his  constitution,  might  be  named  the  Francois 
Villon  of  Scotland. 

His  father  was  an  Irish  pedlar  from  Augher,  Tyrone,  and  the  poet 
was  born  in  Kirk  Street,  Calton,  Glasgow,  9th  April,  1832.  At  the 
school  which  he  is  said  to  have  attended  for  some  two  years  he  was 
described  as  "  one  of  those  boys  a  teacher  takes  a  pride  in — always 
obedient,  assiduous,  and  attentive."  But  about  the  age  often  he  began 
to  accompany  his  father  over  the  country,  and  among  the  towns  and 
villages  of  the  West  of  Scotland.  By  this  means  he  may,  it  is  true, 
Have  acquired  impressions  of  nature  which  were  to  be  of  service  later  in 
his  verse.  But  it  is  certain  he  also  acquired  habits  of  vagrancy  which 
were  to  prove  fatal  to  his  character  and  career.  An  accident  presently 
opened  to  his  sight  the  magic  world  of  poetry.  He  picked  up  on  a 
Lanarkshire  road  an  odd  volume  of  Byron  which  some  rambler  had 
dropped.  The  young  man  had  poetry  already  in  his  blood.  His 
mother  had  used  to  chant  a  store  of  old  ballads  which  were  an 
inspiration  in  themselves.  "To  my  boyish  fancy,"  he  afterwards 
wrote,  "  they  formed  all  that  was  desirable  on  earth,  and  filled  my 
heart  with  a  sense  of  melody  strange  and  inexplicable."  His  father 
too  was  something  of  a  rhymer.  Now,  therefore,  as  the  passion  awoke, 
the  lad  borrowed  books  in  the  library  of  every  town  he  entered,  and 
fed  its  flame.  From  the  allusions  in  his  poem  "  Bookworld  "  it  is 
evident  he  found  his  way  at  once  to  the  greatest  masters  of  the  world's 
song,  and  he  himself  says  that  by  the  time  he  was  twenty  there  was 
scarcely  a  standard  work  in  the  language  which  he  had  not  read. 

Presently  he  summoned  courage  to  show  a  few  of  his  own  verses  to 
Hugh  Macdonald,  at  that  time  sub-editor  of  the  Glasgow  Citizen.  The 
result  was  an  article  by  the  warm-hearted  Rambler  in  August,  1853, 
proclaiming  the  new  poet,  and  giving  some  specimens  of  his  muse. 
Elated  with  this  issue  Macfarlan  forthwith  tramped  to  London,  and 
arranged  for  the  publication  of  a  volume  of  "  Poems,"  which  appeared 
in  1854.  The  book  was  well  received  by  the  critics,  and  with  the 
recent  success  of  Alexander  Smith  before  his  eyes,  the  poet  indulged  in 
the  wildest  dreams. 


JAMES    MACFARLAN  379 

From  these  heights,  however,  the  failure  of  a  number  of  subscribers 
to  implement  their  promise  plunged  him  to  the  opposite  extreme  of 
want  and  despair.  He  was  glad  to  accept  a  situation  as  assistant 
librarian  in  Glasgow  Athenaeum  at  £20  a  year.  This  opening  he 
might  have  improved,  but  the  monotony  and  long  hours  were  irksome 
to  him,  his  neglect  of  duty  and  drunkenness  lost  him  the  post,  and  soon 
he  was  on  the  road,  a  pedlar  again.  Presently,  in  1855,  he  applied  to 
Colin  Rae-Brown,  and  from  him  received  an  appointment  as  police- 
court  reporter  on  the  Daily  Bulletin.  In  the  same  year  he  published 
in  Glasgow  his  second  volume,  "City  Songs."  On  the  strength  of 
these  achievements  he  forthwith  took  to  himself  a  wife.  She  was  a  very 
respectable  girl,  a  steam-loom  weaver  from  Belfast,  and  she  did  her 
best  in  the  miserable  Drygate  attic  which  was  the  poet's  home  to  eke 
out  a  livelihood  by  dressmaking.  But  what  with  the  constant  births 
and  deaths  of  children,  and  the  chronic  inclination  of  her  husband  to 
go  "on  the  ran-dan,"  she  must  have  led  a  sorry  life. 

For  a  short  time  Macfarlan  kept  his  post,  supplying  regular  racy  para- 
graphs which  became  a  feature  of  the  paper.  Then  his  fatal  tendency 
showed  itself,  excuses  more  and  more  frequently  reached  the  editor  instead 
of  "  copy,"  and  the  poet  was  dismissed.  In  this  emergency  he  followed 
his  usual  habit.  He  had  dedicated  his  "City  Songs"  to  the  Earl  of 
Carlisle,  then  Lord  Lieutenant  of  Ireland.  He  now  wrote  to  the  Earl, 
explaining  his  circumstances,  and  was  roused  to  wrath  by  receiving  in 
return  a  guinea.  With  two  hundred  copies  of  his  book  he  went  to 
Edinburgh,  but  his  attempts  to  hawk  them  met  with  little  success,  and 
after  a  third  repulse  from  a  publisher  to  whom  he  had  applied  for  "a 
little  aid,"  he  was,  he  says,  so  exhausted  with  grief  and  suffering  that 
"suicide  seemed  to  have  become  a  necessity."  He  returned  to 
Glasgow  only  to  suffer  further  rebuffs,  one  man  bidding  him  burn  his 
books,  as  he  pushed  him  from  his  office,  while  another,  a  reverend 
author  and  editor,  slammed  the  door  in  his  face.  In  these  straits, 
with,  as  he  put  it,  "the  waters  of  affliction  around  me,"  he  applied 
again  to  Rae-Brown,  who  engaged  him  to  write  a  series  of  tales  for 
his  weekly  paper  the  Workman. 

As  if  he  had  at  last  taken  his  bitter  experience  to  heart,  Macfarlan 
continued  for  many  months  to  contribute  these  tales  and  sketches.  At 
the  same  time  a  number  of  his  poems  were  printed  by  Charles  Dickens 
in  All  the  Year  Round,  and  liberally  paid  for,  and  his  third  little 


380        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

volume,  "Lyrics  of  Life,"  was  issued  by  David  Bogue,  London. 
Nothing,  however,  could  finally  eradicate  the  wandering  habits  of  his 
early  years,  and  again  and  again  he  would  yield  to  the  impulse  to  start 
"  on  the  spree."  On  such  occasions  he  and  Alexander  Hume  might  be 
seen  together,  the  latter  raising  a  few  shillings  by  the  sale  of  some 
melody  composed  on  the  back  of  an  old  envelope  in  some  public-house, 
and  Macfarlan  managing  to  sell  one  of  the  broadside  poems  he  had 
printed  at  the  Poets'  Box  in  Gallowgate.  When  these  resources  ran 
dry  the  two  did  not  hesitate  to  levy  largesse  in  other  ways.  Upon  one 
occasion  David  Gray,  then  a  pupil-teacher  in  the  East  End,  was 
knocked  up  in  the  middle  of  the  night  by  Macfarlan,  with  the  sad 
tale  that  one  of  his  children  was  dead,  and  that  he  was  in  a  sore  strait 
or  assistance.  Gray  had  no  funds,  and  it  was  just  as  well,  for  the  tale 
turned  out  a  fabrication.  Another  Glasgow  poet  has  a  story  of  how 
Macfarlan  "did"  him  out  of  the  price  of  a  railway  ticket  to  Ayr, 
which  place  he  never  reached  on  that  occasion.  On  the  proceeds  of 
such  devices  the  two  would  drink  and  keep  up  their  talk  of  music  and 
poetry  in  some  low  tavern  till  the  lights  were  put  out. 

Such  a  career  could  have  but  one  end.  In  1860,  indeed,  moved 
partly  by  the  kindness  and  persuasion  of  another  true  poet,  James  P. 
Crawford,  Macfarlan  became  an  abstainer,  and  by  the  friendship  of 
William  Logan,  the  temperance  restaurateur,  attained  somewhat  more 
of  comfort  in  his  way  of  living.  But  his  constitution  had  been  fatally 
undermined  by  his  previous  experiences,  and  in  1862  the  fires  of  life 
showed  signs  of  burning  out.  On  a  chilly  morning  in  October  he  set 
forth  to  sell  some  copies  of  "  The  Attic  Study,"  a  prose  pamphlet  he 
had  just  printed.  Two  hours  later  he  returned  penniless.  As  he 
ascended  the  stairs  to  his  home  a  trembling  seized  his  limbs,  and  he 
sank  with  a  moan.  He  was  put  to  bed,  and  comforted  with  warm 
blankets  and  generous  cordials,  but  the  end  had  come,  and  on  the  5th 
of  November  he  died. 

There  was  something  impressive  about  his  funeral.  From  the  mean 
Drygate  attic  in  which  he  breathed  his  last  a  company  of  fourteen 
poets  and  artists  followed  his  body  to  the  cemetery  in  Cheapside 
Street,  Anderston.  It  was  a  day  of  gloomy  sky  and  heavy-falling  snow, 
and  the  spot  itself  was  dismal  enough  ;  but  as  they  lowered  the  body 
into  the  grave  the  scene  was  lit  up  by  a  flash  of  vivid  lightning,  and  a 
rolling  peal  of  thunder  crashed  out  overhead.  The  heavens  gave  the 
poet  his  requiem. 


JAMES   MACFARLAN  381 

Macfarlan's  appearance  has  been  already  mentioned.  About  five 
feet  six  in  height,  always  meanly  clad,  with  heavy,  commonplace 
features,  sallow,  fair  complexion,  and  dull  brown  eyes,  he  wore  a  brow- 
beaten, dejected  look.  He  was  notable  only,  perhaps,  by  his  "  large 
unclassic  head."  Of  his  principles  the  less  said  the  better.  He  scorned 
honest  labour,  sneered  at  honour  and  gratitude  as  mere  cant,  and 
scrupled  no  whit  to  swindle  and  beg.  He  had  also  his  own  vanity,  and 
concluded  his  connection  with  Rae- Brown's  Workman  by  crashing  the 
hat  over  the  eyes  of  the  cashier  who  told  him  his  salary  could  only  be 
paid  to  his  wife.  Yet  he  was  not  lazy,  and  kept  constantly  sending  off 
"screeds  of  prose  things"  to  the  country  papers,  and  scribbling  in 
the  dimly  lit  corners  of  noisy  taverns  the  exquisite  verses  by  which  he  is 
destined  to  live.  For  there  can  be  no  doubt  he  was  a  true  poet,  who, 
if  time  and  opportunity  had  been  his,  might  have  become  a  great  one. 
His  poetry,  it  has  been  said,  "  presents  a  bright  contrast  to  a  dismal 
life.  If  sometimes  small  and  querulous,  it  is  often  full  of  noble  thought, 
and,  with  a  strain  of  helpless  melancholy  running  through  it,  is 
generally  pure  and  sweet."  His  book,  indeed,  is  full  of  rare  and 
beautiful  things ;  jewels  glitter  and  the  flowers  of  poetry  bloom 
enchanted  on  every  page. 

Besides  the  publications  already  referred  to,  Macfarlan  issued  after 
1856  a  poem  in  pamphlet  form,  entitled  "  The  Wanderer  of  the  West." 
Many  of  his  pieces  were  printed  in  the  Glasgow  Citizen,  and  several  of 
his  prose  "Wayside  Thoughts"  after  his  death  in  HedderwicVs 
Miscellany.  His  collected  poems,  with  a  very  inadequate  memoir  by 
Colin  Rae-Brown,  were  published  at  Glasgow  in  1882.  An  excellent 
sketch  of  his  life  from  the  pen  of  Thomas  Elliott,  who  knew  him  well, 
appeared  in  the  Ulster  Magazine  for  January,  1863.  And  another 
interesting  account  from  the  pen  of  William  Hodgson,  who  had  known 
Macfarlan  in  the  Bulletin  office,  was  printed  in  the  Fifeshire  Journal 
of  26th  June,  1884.  A  recent  appreciation  by  Mr.  Thomas  Bayne 
appeared  in  Temple  Barioit  March,  1902. 


382         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


THE   LORDS   OF   LABOUR 

They  come !  they  come  in  a  glorious  march  ! 

You  can  hear  their  steam  steeds  neigh, 
As  they  dash  through  Skill's  triumphal  arch, 

Or  plunge  'mid  the  dancing  spray. 
Their  bale-fires  blaze  in  the  mighty  forge, 

Their  life-pulse  throbs  in  the  mill, 
Their  lightnings  shiver  the  gaping  gorge, 

And  their  thunders  shake  the  hill. 
Ho  !  these  are  the  Titans  of  toil  and  trade, 

The  heroes  who  wield  no  sabre ; 
But  mightier  conquests  reapeth  the  blade 

That  is  borne  by  the  Lords  of  Labour. 

Brave  hearts,  like  jewels,  light  the  sod, 

Through  the  mist  of  commerce  shine, 
And  souls  flash  out,  like  stars  of  God, 

From  the  midnight  of  the  mine. 
No  palace  is  theirs,  no  castle  great, 

No  princely,  pillared  hall ; 
But  they  well  can  laugh  at  the  roofs  of  state, 

'Neath  the  heaven  which  is  over  all. 
Ho  !  these  are  the  Titans  of  toil  and  trade, 

The  heroes  who  wield  no  sabre  ; 
But  mightier  conquests  reapeth  the  blade 

That  is  borne  by  the  Lords  of  Labour. 


JAMES   MACFARLAN  383 

Each  bares  his  arm  for  the  ringing  strife 

That  marshals  the  sons  of  the  soil ; 
And  the  sweat-drops  shed  in  their  battle  of  life 

Are  gems  in  the  crown  of  toil. 
And  prouder  their  well-won  wreaths,  I  trow, 

Than  laurels  with  life-blood  wet ; 
And  nobler  the  arch  of  a  bare,  bold  brow 

Than  the  clasp  of  a  coronet. 
Then  hurrah  for  each  hero,  although  his  deed 

Be  unblown  by  the  trump  or  tabor  ! 
For  holier,  happier  far  is  the  meed 

That  crowneth  the  Lords  of  Labour. 


THE   WATCHER 

The  streets  are  smothered  in  the  snow, 
The  chill-eyed  stars  are  cleaving  keen 

The  frozen  air,  and,  looming  low, 

The  white  moon  stares  across  the  scene. 

She  waiteth  by  the  fading  fire, 
The  gasping  taper  flickers  low, 

And,  drooping  down,  and  rising  higher, 
Her  shadow  wavers  to  and  fro. 

No  foot  disturbs  the  sleeping  floor — 
No  motion,  save  the  breeze's  breath 

That,  stealing  through  the  crannied  door, 
Creeps  coldly,  as  a  thought  of  death. 


384        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

It  chills  her  with  its  airy  stream, 
Oh  cold  and  careless  barren  blast ! 

It  wakes  her  as  her  fevered  dream 

Hath  skimmed  the  sweetness  of  the  past. 

She  stirs  not  yet.     The  night  hath  drawn 
Its  silent  stream  of  stars  away, 

And  now  the  infant  streaks  of  dawn 
Begin  to  prophesy  the  day. 

She  stirs  not  yet.     Within  her  eye 
The  half-crushed  tear-drop  lingers  still 

She  stirs  not,  and  the  smothered  sigh 
Breaks  wave-like  on  the  rock  of  will. 

O  heart  that  will  unheeding  prove  ! 

O  heart  that  will  unheeded  break ! 
How  strong  the  zeal,  how  deep  the  love 

That  burns  for  faithless  folly's  sake ! 


THE   RUINED   CITY 

The  shadows  of  a  thousand  springs, 

Unnumbered  sunsets,  sternly  sleep 
Above  the  dust  of  perished  things 

That  form  the  city's  blasted  heap. 
Dull  watch  the  crumbling  columns  keep 

Against  the  fierce,  relentless  sky ; 
Hours  that  no  dial  noteth  creep 

Like  unremembered  phantoms  by ; 
And  still  this  city  of  the  dead 
Gives  echo  to  no  human  tread. 


JAMES    MACFARLAN  385 

A  curse  is  writ  on  every  stone, 

The  temple's  latest  pillar  lies 
Like  some  white  mammoth's  bleaching  bone ! 

Its  altars  know  no  deities. 
Five  columns  of  a  palace  rise, 

And  when  the  sun  is  red  and  low, 
And  glaring  in  the  molten  skies, 

A  shadow  huge  these  columns  throw, 
That  like  some  dark,  colossal  hand, 
In  silence  creeps  across  the  sand. 

The  senate  slumbers — wondrous  hive 

Of  counsels  sage  and  subtle  schemes  ! 
But  does  no  lingering  tone  survive 

To  prove  their  presence  more  than  dreams  ? 
No  light  of  revelation  beams 

Around  that  voiceless  forum  now ; 
Time  bears  upon  his  restless  streams 

No  reflex  of  the  haughty  brow 
That  oft  has  frowned  a  nation's  fate 
Here — where  dark  reptiles  congregate. 

Where,  where  is  now  the  regal  rag 

That  clothed  the  monarch  of  yon  tower, 
On  which  the  rank  weed  flaps  its  flag 

Across  the  dark,  this  solemn  hour  ? 
Alas  for  pomp,  alas  for  power, 

When  time  unveils  their  nakedness, 
And  Valour's  strength,  and  Beauty's  flower 

Find  nought  to  echo  their  distress, 
And  flattery,  fine  delusive  breath, 
Melts  in  the  iron  grasp  of  Death  ! 

2C 


386        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Day  rises  with  an  angry  glance, 

As  if  to  blight  the  stagnant  air, 
And  hurls  his  fierce  and  fiery  lance 

On  that  doomed  city's  forehead  bare. 
The  sunset's  wild  and  wandering  hair 

Streams  backward  like  a  comet's  mane, 
And  from  the  deep  and  sullen  glare 

The  shuddering  columns  crouch  in  vain, 
While  through  the  wreck  of  wrathful  years 
The  grim  hyena  stalks  and  sneers. 


JAMES    H.    STODDART 
1832-1888 

SPRUNG  from  the  best  class  of  the  Scottish  peasantry,  James  Hastie 
Stoddart  was  a  native  of  Sanquhar.  At  the  village  school  he  went  so 
far  as  to  read  a  large  portion  of  the  Iliad  in  Greek,  and  at  home  he  had 
his  imagination  stirred  by  his  mother's  stores  of  Scottish  ballad,  song, 
and  story.  As  a  lad  he  went  to  Edinburgh,  and  passed  from  the 
Scotsman  counting-house  to  a  chemist's  office  in  Leith,  and  afterwards  to 
the  employment  of  Messrs.  Bryden,  bell-hangers.  Finally,  about  1850,  he 
was  sent  to  Glasgow  to  establish  a  branch  of  Messrs.  Bryden's  business. 
From  the  first,  however,  he  possessed  a  taste  for  letters.  From 
matching  himself  against  others  of  his  years  at  a  "mutual  improvement 
society,"  he  proceeded  to  contribute  to  the  columns  of  the  North 
British  Daily  Mail  and  the  Scottish  Banner.  Through  an  acquaintance 
with  the  author  of  "The  Life  of  John  de  Witt,"  then  on  the  Glasgow 
Herald  staff,  he  obtained  a  connection  with  that  paper,  and  entered  the 
office  as  a  sub-editor  in  1862.  After  serving  as  lieutenant  to  Mr. 
Pagan  and  Professor  Jack,  he  became  editor  of  the  paper  in  1875,  and 
occupied  the  chair  with  tact,  ability,  and  distinction,  till  shattered 
health  put  an  end  to  his  labours. 

Throughout  all  his  busy  years  poetry  was  his  recreation.  He  was 
known  as  the  author  of  many  brilliant  jeux  cTesprit  and  flashes  of 
humorous  satire  which  from  time  to  time  enlivened  the  columns  of  the 
Herald,  and  his  poems,  "The  Village  Life,"  published  by  Messrs. 
MacLehose  in  1879,  and  "The  Seven  Sagas  of  Prehistoric  Man,"  by 
Messrs.  Chatto  &  Windus  in  1884,  proved  his  title  to  a  place  among 
the  makers.  In  his  later  years  he  gathered  materials  for  a  scientific 
epic  which  he  did  not  live  to  complete — an  undertaking  which  has  been 
depicted  with  fine  power  and  pathos  in  the  "Lost  Epic"  of  his  sub- 
editor, Mr.  William  Canton.  His  last  work  was  a  new  edition  of  the 
poems  of  George  Outram,  published  in  1888. 

When  the  Glasgow  Ballad  Club  was  established  in  1876,  Stoddart 
was  elected  Honorary  President.  In  1882  he  was  presented  with  his 


388        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

portrait  by  the  leading  citizens  of  Glasgow.  And  four  years  later 
Glasgow  University  conferred  upon  him  the  degree  of  LL.D.  A  few 
months  before  his  death,  at  a  public  dinner  presided  over  by  the  Lord 
Provost,  Sir  James  King,  Bart.,  he  was  presented  by  the  employees  of 
the  Herald  and  Evening  Times  with  a  service  of  silver  plate  as  a 
token  of  affection  and  esteem.  He  died  at  The  Cottage,  Lennoxtown, 
nth  April,  1888,  leaving  a  family  of  four  sons  and  three  daughters. 
The  main  facts  of  his  life  are  set  forth  in  a  memorial  volume  privately 
printed  at  the  time  of  his  death. 

As  a  journalist  Dr.  Stoddart  won  esteem  by  his  clearness  of 
perception  and  fairness  of  judgment.  As  a  poet  he  may  not  be 
destined  to  a  supreme  place,  but  his  verse  shows  a  sympathetic  insight 
into  the  phases  of  rustic  life  which  possesses  its  own  charm.  "The 
Blacksmith's  Daughter  "  is  printed  here  by  kind  permission  of  Messrs. 
MacLehose  &  Sons. 


THE   BLACKSMITH'S   DAUGHTER 
From  "  The   Village  Life  " 

Away,  philosophy  and  creeds  ! 

Here  in  the  honeysuckle  bower, 

Which  at  the  garden's  farthest  edge 

Looks  on  the  streamlet  as  it  speeds, 

Sunlit  and  gleaming  through  a  shower, 

Away  o'er  pebbles  and  through  sedge, 

Sits,  with  her  needle,  Isobel, 

The  smith's  young  daughter,  fair  and  tall, 

As  sweet  a  maiden  for  a  song 

As  e'er  did  poet's  heart  enthrall. 

Her  eyes  are  steadfast  as  a  well 

Of  living  water  in  its  pit, 

When  to  its  depths  immeasurable 

A  zenith  star  has  lighted  it. 


JAMES    H.   STODDART         389 

Her  face  is  ruddy  with  the  health 
Pure  blood  through  all  her  body  whirls ; 
And  worth  all  gems  of  greatest  wealth 
Is  the  luxuriance  of  her  curls. 
She  shakes  them  gaily  in  the  sun, 
Nor  knows  how  witchingly  they  fall 
About  the  marble  of  her  throat. 
Though  dearly  loved  and  praised  by  all, 
She  hardly  knows  she  has  begun 
To  blossom  into  perfect  flower — 
The  perfect  flower  of  womanhood. 
Unconsciously  she's  fair  and  good, 
A  village  maiden  pure  and  sweet, 
Her  soul  just  opening  daintily 
To  the  young  radiance  of  the  day 
That  tinges  it  with  blushes  meet. 
Much  given  to  meditation,  too, 
Nought  loves  she  better  than  to  see 
The  red  light  softly  die  away 
Beyond  the  woods,  beyond  the  moor. 
Then  steals  she  past  the  smithy  door, 
Rejoicing  in  her  friend,  the  Night, 
Her  heart,  her  eyes,  all  brimming  o'er 
With  youthful  feelings  of  delight. 
She  seeks  new  life  below  the  moon, 
And  happy  thoughts  then  crave  the  boon 
Of  speech  from  her  red  lips,  while  high 
Above,  the  stars  are  glowing  bright 
In  the  blue  lift,  that  to  her  eye 
Seems  veiling  Heaven  from  mortal  sight. 


JOHN  NICHOL 

1833-1894 

PROFESSOR  NICHOL,  as  he  was  affectionately  known  to  a  generation  of 
students  at  Glasgow  University,  was  the  second  of  the  name  known  to 
the  city.  He  was  born  at  Montrose,  when  his  father  was  Rector  of 
the  Academy  there,  8th  September,  1833.  Four  years  later  the  father 
was  appointed  to  the  chair  of  Astronomy  in  Glasgow.  Here,  first  of 
all  in  the  old  College  court  in  High  Street,  and  afterwards  in  the  new 
Observatory,  to  which  the  household  migrated  in  1841,  Nichol's  boyhood 
was  spent.  In  his  early  years  he  was  an  omnivorous  reader,  and  was 
attracted  to  the  study  of  geology  and  astronomy.  From  the  Western 
Academy,  with  a  year  at  the  Grammar  School  of  Kelso,  the  reserved, 
timid  lad  passed  to  Glasgow  University  and  Balliol  College,  Oxford. 

Even  in  his  boyish  days  he  wrote  verses,  and  in  1854  he  contributed  a 
poem  on  Ailsa  Craig  to  the  Glasgow  University  Album,  a  production 
which  he  organised  and  edited.  In  the  same  year  he  printed  privately 
his  first  volume  of  verse,  under  the  title  of  "  Leaves."  Among  the 
friends  of  his  earlier  years  at  Glasgow  were  Alexander  Smith  and 
Sydney  Dobell,  and  at  Oxford  he  founded  an  essay-reading  club,  the 
Old  Mortality,  which  included  James  Payne,  T.  H.  Green,  and  A.  C. 
Swinburne.  Jowett  was  his  kindly  mentor  and  life-long  friend.  After 
taking  his  degree  with  first-class  honours,  he  kept  his  terms  in  London 
for  the  English  Bar,  and  he  built  up  a  reputation  as  one  of  the  most 
successful  "coaches"  at  Oxford.  In  1861  he  married  the  eldest 
daughter  of  Henry  Glassford  Bell,  who  proved,  in  a  peculiar  sense,  the 
good  angel  of  his  life.  By  her  he  became  the  father  of  a  son  and  two 
daughters. 

Defeated  by  John  Veitch  in  his  candidature  for  the  chair  of  Logic  and 
English  Literature  at  St.  Andrews,  he  was  appointed  to  the  new  chair 
of  English  Literature  at  Glasgow  in  1862,  and  occupied  it  for  a  quarter  of 
a  century  with  brilliant  success.  He  afterwards  was  an  unsuccessful 
candidate  for  the  chairs  of  Logic  and  Moral  Philosophy  at  Glasgow  and 
of  English  Literature  at  Oxford.  In  1873  he  published  "Hannibal, 


JOHN   NICHOL  391 

an  Historical  Drama,"  and  "received  the  degree  of  LL.D.  from  St. 
Andrews  University.  In  the  crash  of  the  City  of  Glasgow  Bank  he  was 
involved  as  trustee  for  a  shareholder,  but  through  the  honourable 
conduct  of  the  relations  for  whom  he  held  the  trust  he  ultimately 
suffered  little  loss. 

In  1889  Nichol  resigned  his  chair.  With  failing  health,  and  failing 
enthusiasm  for  the  rough  work  of  the  Scottish  class-room,  he  had  begun 
to  believe  there  was  a  conspiracy  against  him  in  the  world  of  letters, 
and  his  idea  was  to  devote  himself  more  freely  to  literature  and 
to  conquer  his  opponents  by  a  tour  deforce.  He  had  always  been  a 
contributor  to  the  Glasgow  Herald  and  Manchester  Guardian,  especially 
of  obituary  notices,  and  he  had  contributed  a  series  of  articles  on  the 
Scottish  poets  to  the  Encyclopaedia  Britannica.  He  had  compiled  in 
1877,  on  a  suggestion  of  Professor  Knight,  his  laborious  "Tables  of 
European  History,  Literature,  Science,  and  Art " ;  had  produced  a 
valuable  "Primer  of  English  Composition"  in  1879  ;  ha  1  contributed 
to  the  English  Men  of  Letters  Series  in  1880  a  monograph  on  Byron 
which  Swinburne  called  "the  very  best  apologia  for  another  man 
that  ever  was  made";  had  published  his  best  poetical  work,  "The 
Death  of  Themistocles  and  Other  Poems "  in  1881  ;  had  issued 
"  Robert  Burns,  a  Summary  of  his  Career  and  Genius,"  and  a  history 
of  American  literature  in  1882  ;  and  in  1888  he  had  published  a 
monograph  on  Francis  Bacon.  Alas  !  after  his  resignation  of  the 
chair  he  was  to  produce  only  one  book  more,  though  indeed  it  was  his 
best,  his  monograph  on  Carlyle.  This  appeared  in  1892.  A  year 
earlier  his  portrait  by  Orchardson  had  been  presented  to  him  in 
Glasgow  University.  Two  years  later  he  was  dead.  He  had  taken 
up  residence  in  London,  and  he  died  there  nth  October,  1894. 

Nichol's  greatest  work  was  probably  that  done  in  the  class-room  at 
Gilmorehill,  where  he  inspired  a  generation  of  the  picked  young  minds 
of  Scotland  with  a  love  for  the  real  graces  and  glories  of  our  literature. 
But  his  monographs  on  Byron,  Burns,  Bacon,  and  Carlyle  are  themselves 
among  the  vital  criticism  of  his  time.  And,  in  poetry,  if  his  portraits 
of  Hannibal  and  Themistocles  depict  subjects  perhaps  too  remote  for 
modern  enthusiasm,  his  sonnets  and  short  poems  are  in  many  cases 
pure  gold.  A  memoir  of  Nichol,  by  his  friend,  Professor  Knight,  was 
published  by  Messrs.  MacLehose  in  1896. 

The  following  poem  is  reproduced  by  kind  permission  of  Professor 
Nichol's  representatives. 


392         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


MARE   MEDITERRANEUM 

A  line  of  light !  it  is  the  inland  sea, 

The  least  in  compass  and  the  first  in  fame ; 
The  gleaming  of  its  waves  recalls  to  me 
Full  many  an  ancient  name. 

As  through  my  dreamland  float  the  days  of  old, 
The  forms  and  features  of  their  heroes  shine  : 
I  see  Phoenician  sailors  bearing  gold 
From  the  Tartessian  mine. 

Seeking  new  worlds,  storm-tossed  Ulysses  ploughs 

Remoter  surges  of  the  winding  main ; 
And  Grecian  captains  come  to  pay  their  vows, 
Or  gather  up  the  slain. 

I  see  the  temples  of  the  "  Violet  Crown  " 

Burn  upward  in  the  hour  of  glorious  flight ; 
And  mariners  of  uneclipsed  renown, 
Who  won  the  great  sea-fight. 

I  hear  the  dashing  of  a  thousand  oars ; 
The  angry  waters  take  a  deeper  dye ; 
A  thousand  echoes  vibrate  from  the  shores 
With  Athens'  battle-cry. 

Again  the  Carthaginian  rovers  sweep, 

With  sword  and  commerce,  on  from  shore  to  shore 
In  visionary  storms  the  breakers  leap 
Round  Syrtes,  as  of  yore. 


JOHN    NICHOL  393 

Victory,  sitting  on  the  Seven  Hills, 

Had  gained  the  world  when  she  had  mastered  thee ; 
Thy  bosom  with  the  Roman  war-note  thrills, 
Wave  of  the  inland  sea. 

Then,  singing  as  they  sail  in  shining  ships, 
I  see  the  monarch  minstrels  of  Romance, 

And  hear  their  praises  murmured  through  the  lips 
Of  the  fair  dames  of  France. 

Across  the  deep  another  music  swells, 

On  Adrian  bays  a  later  splendour  smiles ; 
Power  hails  the  marble  city  where  she  dwells — 
Queen  of  a  hundred  isles. 

Westward  the  galleys  of  the  Crescent  roam, 

And  meet  the  Pisan  challenge  in  the  breeze, 
Till  the  long  Dorian  palace  lords  the  foam 
With  stalwart  Genoese. 

But  the  light  fades  ;  the  vision  wears  away; 

I  see  the  mist  above  the  dreary  wave. 
Blow,  winds  of  Freedom  !  give  another  day 
Of  glory  to  the  brave. 


ALEXANDER    FALCONER 

1834-1896 

THE  son,  like  Thomas  Carlyle,  of  a  stone-mason,  Alexander  Falconer 
was  a  native  of  the  Gallon,  in  Glasgow.  At  the  age  of  nine  he  left  the 
Normal  School  and  was  apprenticed  to  a  chemist.  Even  so  early, 
however,  he  had  found  friendships  in  the  world  of  books,  and  spent 
his  spare  hours  poring  over  his  treasures  in  a  disused  attic.  One 
incident  of  those  years  he  never  forgot.  With  his  little  sister  on  his 
back  he  was  gazing  into  a  bookshop  window,  when  a  passer-by  asked 
him  which  volume  he  would  like.  He  answered  readily  enough,  and 
to  his  intense  surprise  the  stranger  bought  the  book  and  presented  it  to 
him.  From  the  first,  too,  he  had  distinct  ambitions,  and,  as  a  lad,  used 
to  save  his  pocket-money  in  order  to  travel  first-class  and  see  the 
manners  of  good  society. 

At  the  age  of  twenty  he  became  a  reporter  on  the  staff  of  the 
Glasgow  Sentinel,  and  afterwards  on  that  of  the  Daily  Times.  In  that 
position  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  men  like  John  Kelso  Hunter,  the 
cobbler-artist,  Robert  Buchanan,  the  poet-novelist,  and  the  sad-fated 
David  Gray.  But  the  realities  of  journalistic  life,  as  it  was  carried  on 
at  that  time  in  Glasgow,  soon  disgusted  him,  and  he  turned  to  another 
career. 

After  helping  at  the  Refuge  Home  in  Duke  Street  as  a  Sunday 
teacher,  he  obtained  an  appointment,  in  1857,  on  the  permanent  staff. 
There,  because  or  his  surgical  knowledge,  he  was  affectionately 
known  as  "  the  Doctor"  by  the  boys.  Two  years  later  he  removed  to 
a  similar  post  in  Greenock,  and  in  1860  was  appointed  Superintendent 
of  a  new  reformatory  at  Malone,  near  Belfast.  Having  now  a  free 
hand  he  put  into  practice  his  new  ideas  of  civilizing  the  lads  by  kindly 
personal  influence,  rather  than  of  brutalizing  them  by  force.  He 
worked,  played,  talked,  and  even  ate  with  them.  But  the  material 


ALEXANDER   FALCONER      395 

was  too  debased — some  of  his  subjects  had  been  four  times  in  prison  ; 
and  in  two  years  he  was  forced  to  give  up  the  attempt.  He  became 
Governor,  first  of  the  Reformatory  at  Sunderland,  and  eight  years 
later  of  the  Boys'  Industrial  School  at  Mossbank,  Glasgow.  There, 
during  his  twenty-seven  years  of  office,  he  passed  through  his  hands 
upwards  of  two  thousand  boys.  To  him  belongs  much  of  the  credit 
of  introducing  a  new  method  which  has  resulted  finally  in  abolishing 
the  old  Reformatory  system  altogether.  Instead  of  the  severe  repressive 
and  punitive  methods — the  lash  and  the  cell — which  he  found  in  vogue 
on  his  appointment,  he  brought  to  bear  other  and  gentler  means  of 
which  he  was  a  master.  Ninety,  at  least,  out  of  every  hundred  of  the  lads 
under  him  did  well  in  the  world  ;  and  during  his  later  years  Falconer 
constantly  received  visits  from  old  boys  who  had  prospered  in  life,  and 
who  came  back  with  full  hearts  to  show  they  did  not  forget. 

At  an  early  period  of  his  management  the  great  school  was  burned 
to  the  ground.  On  that  occasion  Falconer  wrought  at  the  work  of 
salvage  among  the  smoke  and  flames  almost  till  the  roof  came  down 
upon  his  head.  Not  a  life  was  lost,  however,  the  school  soon 
recovered,  and  it  was  never  so  powerful  an  engine  for  civilization  as  at 
the  time  of  its  Governor's  death. 

In  an  accident  to  the  steamship  "  Midnight  Sun,"  off  the  West 
Coast,  Falconer  narrowly  escaped  drowning.  The  shock  culminated 
in  a  paralytic  stroke,  and  he  died  at  Auchenlarich,  Dunbartonshire,  in 
August,  1896.  He  was  twice  married,  and  was  survived  by  a  widow, 
four  daughters,  and  a  son. 

Throughout  his  life  he  found  his  recreation  in  literature.  He  con- 
tributed historical  papers  of  considerable  value  to  Eraser's  Magazine, 
the  British  and  Foreign  Evangelical  Review,  and  the  Scottish  Review. 
In  poetry  he  was  an  admirer  of  Wordsworth,  and  besides  compositions 
which  appeared  in  the  volumes  of  the  Glasgow  Ballad  Club,  he  was 
author  of  a  small  volume  printed  in  1865,  and  of  "Scottish  Pastorals 
and  Ballads,"  published  in  1894. 


396        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 


WEDDED   LOVE 

We  went  by  the  corn  and  barley, 

And  the  woodland  ways  so  sweet,  so  sweet ; 

The  linnet  and  mavis  sang  all  the  way, 
And  the  river  that  flowed  at  our  feet. 

There  was  love  in  the  bush  and  love  in  the  blue, 

And  the  sunshine  laughed,  and  the  shadows  flew, 

As  if  they  each  knew 

'Twas  our  twentieth  marriage  morning. 

By  the  stile  half  hid  'mong  the  rowan  and  thorn, 

Where  the  old  wooden  bridge  and  the  kirk  tower  are  seen, 
And  all  the  clear  length  of  the  water  that  lies 

In  the  silvery  shallows  between, 

We  stayed,  and,  fondly  as  true  lovers,  kissed — 

Kissed,  for  'twas  here  long  ago  I  was  blessed  \ 

While  our  eyes  were  filled  with  a  sudden  mist, 

On  our  twentieth  marriage  morning. 

Then  she  pulled  a  flower  from  brier  and  thorn, 
And  set  each,  as  she  only  could,  in  her  hair. 

"  And  now,  beloved,  come  tell  me  true," 
She  said,  with  her  winsomest  air — 

"  Not  so  bonnie  as  then  ? 

Not  so  bonnie  as  when 

I  drooped  while  you  cheerily  said  '  Amen,' 

And  we  passed  out  with  blessings  that  morning  ? 


ALEXANDER   FALCONER      397 

"  Not  so  bonnie  nor  blythe,  I  am  sure,  you'll  say, 

As  in  the  dear  courting  time,  long  ago, 
When  you  praised,  you  remember,  my  simple  ways, 

My  eyes  and  my  ringlets  then  black  as  the  sloe  ? 
Not  so  blythe  as  then — 
Not  so  blythe  as  when 
I  drooped,  while  you  cheerily  said  'Amen,' 

And  your  love  was  your  wife  that  morning?" 

Oh,  never  so  much  of  the  gay-worded  wit 
Had  I  seen  her,  my  darling,  in  bypast  years ; 

And  of  many  a  gladness  we  both  had  shared, 
Of  troubles  enough,  and  tears. 

Then  love  stirred  anew — 

Love  tender  and  true, 

And  while  sunshine  laughed  and  while  shadows  flew, 
I  told  all  my  heart  that  morning. 

The  flowers  she  took  from  her  dark,  tangled  hair 
As  I  sang  the  last  words,  and  twined  them  together, 

And  holding  them  up,  said,  with  tenderest  charm, 

"  Thus,  love,  have  we  two  been  in  all  sorts  of  weather 

In  the  past  golden  years, 

And  so  we  shall  be,  come  what  joys  or  what  tears  : 

Take  this  as  the  token,  I  go  without  fears 
On  our  twentieth  marriage  morning." 


DAVID  GRAY 

1838-1861 

"  WESTMINSTER  ABBEY  !  If  I  live  I  shall  be  buried  there— so  help  me, 
God  ! "  These  words,  written  to  a  stranger,  Sidney  Dobell,  by  the  son 
of  a  poor  weaver  of  Kirkintilloch,  seem  at  first  extravagant.  They 
are  merely,  perhaps,  the  expression  of  what  most  young  poets 
think  but  do  not  say.  In  the  case  of  David  Gray,  however,  they 
expressed  more  than  a  boyish  dream,  for  the  passion  which  of  all  others 
consumed  his  soul  was  the  feverish  thirst  for  fame,  and  it  may  be 
believed  that  had  he  lived  he  would  have  realised  his  dreams.  As  it  is, 
he  must  be  granted  the  "gracious  room"  he  craved,  beside  Pollok, 
White,  Keats,  and  Bruce,  as  a  true  poet  cut  off  before  his  prime. 

Eldest  of  eight  children,  Gray  was  born  on  the  banks  of  the  Luggie, 
eight  miles  from  Glasgow,  29th  January,  1838.  At  school  he  showed 
himself  a  bright  lad,  and  like  so  many  others  in  similar  circumstances 
and  of  similar  parts,  was  destined  for  the  ministry.  Alas  !  how  often 
the  effort  of  peasant  lads  in  Scotland  to  take  this  social  step  with 
scanty  means  has  cost  them  their  lives.  By  dint  of  pupil- teaching  at 
Bridgeton  and  in  the  Free  Church  Normal  School,  Gray  paid  his  way 
for  four  years  at  Glasgow  University,  but  he  spent  himself  in  the 
struggle.  Meanwhile  he  had  written  poetry.  By  his  early  friend,  Mr. 
William  Freeland,  he  was  introduced  to  Dr.  Hedderwick,  and  many  of 
his  poems  appeared  above  the  signature  of  "Will  Gurney"  in  the 
Glasgow  Citizen. 

At  length,  giving  rein  to  his  ambition,  he  decided  on  the  career  of  a 
man  of  letters,  and  with  another  ardent  young  spirit,  Robert  Buchanan, 
set  off  for  London.  By  some  mistake  the  two  left  for  the  South  from 
different  railway  stations,  and  Gray  arrived  in  London  alone  and  too  late 
to  find  his  friend.  With  the  impulse  of  poetic  youth,  and  perhaps  from 


DAVID   GRAY  399 

motives  of  economy,  he  spent  the  night  in  Hyde  Park — with  disastrous 
results.  He  caught  a  cold,  which,  in  his  ill-nourished  frame,  rapidly 
developed  into  consumption.  For  some  time  Buchanan  and  he  carried 
on  the  struggle  for  fame  and  bread  in  a  certain  "dear  old  ghastly 
bankrupt  garret"  in  Stamford  Street,  Blackfriars,  and  while  there  Gray 
managed  to  attract  the  interest  of  Mr.  Monckton  Milnes,  afterwards  Lord 
Houghton.  Milnes  proved  a  true  friend,  found  literary  work  for  him, 
and  at  last,  when  he  was  stricken  down,  sent  him  to  the  South  of 
England  and  afterwards  home  to  his  parents  at  Kirkintilloch.  For 
nearly  a  year  the  poet  lingered,  writing  verse  and  letters  full  of 
passionate  yearning  and  despair,  and  before  he  died  he  was  gratified 
by  the  sight  of  the  first  printed  page  of  his  book.  He  passed  away 
3rd  December,  1861. 

To  his  posthumous  volume,  published  in  1862,  a  memoir  was 
prefixed  from  the  pen  of  Dr.  Hedderwick,  and  an  introduction  by 
Lord  Houghton.  To  an  enlarged  edition,  issued  in  1874,  was 
appended  the  biographical  speech  delivered  by  Sheriff  Glassford  Bell 
at  the  inauguration  of  Gray's  memorial  stone  in  the  Auld  Aisle  burying- 
ground  at  Kirkintilloch.  And  among  his  own  works  Robert 
Buchanan  furnished  an  account  of  the  poet's  brief  life-struggle.  More 
recently,  a  fine  personal  description  with  reminiscences,  from  a  lecture 
by  Gray's  early  friend,  Mr.  William  Freeland,  appeared  in  the 
Kirkintilloch  Herald  of  27th  February,  1901. 

In  his  "  Backward  Glances,"  Dr.  Hedderwick  describes  the  poet  as 
*'  a  young  man  of  good  height,  broad-shouldered,  but  hollow-chested 
and  slightly  stooping.  His  dark  hair  curled  over  a  forehead  of  Keats- 
like  formation,  and  I  remember  being  struck  with  his  delicate 
complexion,  softly  luminous  eyes,  and  sensitive  mouth."  As  an 
inheritor  of  poetic  fame  there  is  room  to  believe  that  Gray  has  not  yet 
come  altogether  to  his  own.  Had  he  been  an  English  bard,  with  the 
ear  of  the  London  world,  his  name,  it  may  be  taken  for  certain,  would 
have  been  in  the  mouths  of  all  men  to-day.  His  "  Luggie,"  no  doubt, 
contains  lines  whose  over-ardour  the  poet  would  have  been  likely  to 
modify  in  time.  But  it  also  contains  lines  and  passages  which  no 
touch  could  improve— lines  of  such  perfect  description  as 

"  Hushfully  falls  the  soft  white  windless  snow." 
And  of  his  thirty  sonnets,   "  In  the  Shadows,"  written  by  the  poet 


400        THE    GLASGOW   POETS 

during  his  last  illness,  Sheriff  Bell  was  probably  right  in  declaring  they 
possessed  a  solemn  beauty  not  surpassed  by  many  of  the  finest  passages 
in  Tennyson's  "  In  Memoriam."  Certainly,  as  his  first  biographer  said, 
it  would  not  be  easy  to  name  anything  in  literature  more  intensely 
pathetic. 

The  following  poems  are  included  here  by  the  kind  permission  of  the 
publishers,  Messrs.  James  MacLehose  &  Sons  : — 


WHY? 
From  "In  the  Shadows" 

Why  are  all  fair  things  at  their  death  the  fairest  ? 

Beauty  the  beautifullest  in  decay  ? 

Why  doth  rich  sunset  clothe  each  closing  day 
With  ever  new  apparelling  the  rarest  ? 
Why  are  the  sweetest  melodies  all  born 

Of  pain  and  sorrow  ?     Mourneth  not  the  dove, 

In  the  green  forest  gloom,  an  absent  love  ? 
Leaning  her  breast  against  lhat  cruel  thorn, 

Doth  not  the  nightingale,  poor  bird,  complain, 

And  integrate  her  uncontrollable  woe 
To  such  perfection  that  to  hear  is  pain  ? 
Thus  sorrow  and  death,  alone  realities, 

Sweeten  their  ministration,  and  bestow 
On  troublous  life  a  relish  of  the  skies. 

IF   IT   MUST   BE! 
From  "In  the  Shadows" 

If  it  must  be  ;  if  it  must  be,  O  God  ! 

That  I  die  young,  and  make  no  further  moan ; 


DAVID   GRAY  401 

That  underneath  the  unrespective  sod, 

In  unescutcheoned  privacy,  my  bones 
Shall  crumble  soon — then  give  me  strength  to  bear 

The  last  convulsive  throe  of  too  sweet  breath  ! 
I  tremble  from  the  edge  of  life  to  dare 

The  dark  and  fatal  leap,  having  no  faith, 
No  glorious  yearning  for  the  Apocalypse ; 

But,  like  a  child  that  in  the  night  time  cries 
For  light,  I  cry ;  forgetting  the  eclipse 

Of  knowledge  and  our  human  destinies. 
O  peevish  and  uncertain  soul !  obey 
The  law  of  life  in  patience  till  the  day. 


THE   CONCEPTION 
From  "  The  Luggie  " 

Beneath  an  ash  in  beauty  tender  leaved, 
And  through  whose  boughs  the  glimmering  sunshine  flowed 
In  rare  ethereal  jasper,  making  cool 
A  chequered  shadow  in  the  dark-green  grass. 
I  lay  enchanted.     At  my  head  there  bloomed 
A  hedge  of  sweet-brier,  fragrant  as  the  breath 
Of  maid  beloved  when  her  cheek  is  laid 
To  yours  in  downy  pressure,  soft  as  sleep. 
A  bank  of  harebells,  flowers  unspeakable 
For  half-transparent  azure,  nodding,  gleamed, 
As  a  faint  zephyr,  laden  with  perfume, 
Kissed  them  to  motion,  gently,  with  no  will. 
Before  me,  streams  most  dear  unto  my  heart, 
2  D 


402         THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Sweet  Luggie,  sylvan  Bothlin — fairer  twain 

Than  ever  sang  themselves  into  the  sea, 

Lucid  ^Egean,  gemmed  with  sacred  isles — 

Were  rolled  together  in  an  emerald  vale ; 

And  into  the  severe  bright  noon  the  smoke 

In  airy  circles  o'er  the  sycamores 

Upcurled,  a  lonely  little  cloud  of  blue 

Above  the  hamlet.     Far  away 

A  gently  rising  hill  with  umbrage  clad, 

Hazel  and  glossy  birch  and  silver  fir, 

Met  the  keen  sky.     Oh,  in  that  wood,  I  know, 

The  woodruff  and  the  hyacinth  are  fair 

In  their  own  season;  with  the  bilberry 

Of  dim  and  misty  blue,  to  childhood  dear. 

Here  on  a  sunny  August  afternoon 

A  vision  stirred  my  spirit,  half  awake, 

To  fling  a  purer  lustre  on  those  fields 

That  knew  my  boyish  footsteps ;  and  to  sing 

Thy  pastoral  beauty,  Luggie,  into  fame. 

xNow,  while  the  nights  are  long,  by  the  dear  hearth 
Of  home  I  write  ;  and  ere  the  mavis  trills 
His  smooth  notes  from  the  budding  boughs  of  March, 
While  the  red  windy  morning  o'er  the  east 
Widens,  or  while  the  lowly  sky  of  eve 
Burns  like  a  topaz,  all  the  dear  design 
May  reach  completion,  married  to  my  song 
As  far  as  words  can  syllable  desire. 
May  yet  the  inspiration  and  delight, 
That  proved  my  soul  on  that  autumnal  day, 
Be  with  me  now,  while  o'er  the  naked  earth 

\  Hushfully  falls  the  soft,  white  windless  snow. 


DAVID   GRAY  403 


HIS  EPITAPH 

Below  lies  one  whose  name  was  traced  in  sand. 

He  died  not  knowing  what  it  was  to  live, 

Died  while  the  first  sweet  consciousness  of  manhood 

And  maiden  thought  electrified  his  soul — 

Faint  beatings  in  the  calyx  of  the  rose. 

Bewildered  reader  !  pass  without  a  sigh 

In  a  proud  sorrow.     There  is  life  with  God 

In  other  kingdom  of  a  sweeter  air  j 

In  Eden  every  flower  is  blown  :  Amen. 


WILLIAM    BLACK 

1841-1898 

BY  far  the  most  popular  British  novelist  of  the  seventies  and  eighties, 
when  his  "Daughter  of  Heth,"  "Princess  of  Thule,"  and  "Macleod  of 
Dare,"  took  the  fashionable  reading  world  by  storm,  William  Black  is 
probably  destined  to  be  best  remembered  as  the  great  prose  poet  of 
West  Highland  scenery — mountain,  sea,  and  sunset ;  and  is  aptly 
commemorated  by  the  beacon  erected  to  his  name  on  Duart  Point,  in 
Mull.  But  in  his  earlier  days  he  also  wrote  verse,  and,  first  above  the 
pseudonym  of  "Alton"  in  the  Glasgow  Citizen^  and  afterwards  over 
his  own  name  in  Hedderwick's  Miscellany  y  he  contributed  many  pieces 
of  grace  and  charm. 

Descended  from  a  Covenanting  race  of  farmers  at  Carnwath,  of  the 
Highland  stock  of  Clan  Lamont,  Black  was  born  in  the  Trongate  of 
Glasgow,  and  educated  at  St.  James's  Parish  School.  He  grew  up  a 
shy,  thoughtful  boy,  and  for  some  years  acted  as  clerk  to  a  firm  of 
bookbinders  in  Jamaica  Street.  But  his  tastes  were  literary,  and  he 
early  formed  a  friendship  with  Mr.  William  Freeland,  sub-editor  of  the 
Citizen,  and  became  a  contributor  of  tales  and  poetry  to  Hedderwick's 
publications.  At  the  age  of  twenty-one  he  betook  himself  to  London. 
There  at  first  he  lived  with  Robert  Buchanan  in  lodgings  in  Camden 
Town,  and  earned  a  living  as  clerk  with  a  firm  of  China  merchants  in 
Birchin  Lane.  But  he  obtained  an  appointment  presently  as  a 
descriptive  writer  on  the  Morning  Star,  and  soon  distinguished 
himself. 

Before  leaving  Glasgow  he  had  published  a  novel,  "James  Merle," 
and  in  1868,  when  fairly  established  as  a  journalist  in  London,  he 
produced  another,  "Love  or  Marriage."  Both  were  distinctly  im- 
mature. His  next  book,  "In  Silk  Attire,"  published  in  1869, 
possessed  much  charm ;  but  the  Saturday  Review  sneered  at  a  Scottish 


WILLIAM    BLACK  405 

author  who  presumed  to  write  novels  of  English  life.  The  taunt  drove 
Black  to  his  true  field.  In  1871  "A  Daughter  of  Heth"  appeared 
anonymously,  first  in  the  Glasgow  Herald,  and  afterwards  in  book  form. 
For  some  weeks  it  hung  fire,  then  the  Saturday  Review  led  off  a  paean 
of  praise,  and  the  world  suddenly  awoke  to  recognise 'the  charm  of  the 
new  teller  of  tales. 

For  twenty  years  Black  remained  the  most  fashionable  novelist. 
Volume  after  volume  came  from  his  pen,  full  of  the  atmosphere, 
health-giving  and  glorious,  of  the  West  Highlands,  which  he  had  made 
his  own.  If  success  tempted  him  to  become  a  buyer  of  pictures,  and  a 
connoisseur  of  cigars,  that  was  his  own  affair.  Amid  all  his  success  he 
remained  singularly  modest  and  unspoiled,  and  he  made  many  true 
friends.  An  amusing  story  is  told  in  connection  with  one  of  these, 
Miss  Mary  Anderson,  the  actress.  He  had  a  profound  admiration  and 
regard  for  that  lady,  and  made  her  the  heroine  of  his  "  Strange 
Adventures  of  a  Houseboat."  Twice  for  a  prank  he  appeared  on  the 
stage  as  a  "  super "  in  the  play  she  was  acting,  and  on  the  first 
occasion,  paralysed  with  stage  fright,  or  pretending  to  be  so,  had  to  be 
forcibly  dragged  off  the  boards. 

The  novelist  died  at  Brighton,  loth  December,  1898,  and  was 
survived  by  a  widow,  two  daughters,  and  a  son.  His  biography,  by 
Sir  Wemyss  Reid,  was  published  in  1902. 

Somewhat  shy  and  reserved  in  general  company,  Black  yet  displayed 
at  times  a  wild  fund  of  boyish  spirits,  and  was  himself  the  "  Whaup  "  of 
his  early  story,  "A  Daughter  of  Heth."  He  was  a  keen  sailor,  an 
enthusiastic  angler,  and  passionately  devoted  to  all  forms  of  sport.  He 
took  great  interest  in  the  younger  generation  of  writers,  watching  and 
admiring  greatly  such  men  as  Rudyard  Kipling  and  J.  M.  Barrie.  If 
his  own  books  deal  little  with  the  great  "problems"  of  modern  life,  it 
must  be  admitted  that  they  helped  to  mould  the  thoughts  and  tastes  of 
an  entire  generation  in  an  altogether  healthful  and  delightful  way. 

The  first  two  specimens  of  his  verse  here  reprinted  appeared 
in  Hedderwick 's  Miscellany ',  and  were  written  while  the  novelist  was 
still  in  his  teens.  Apart  from  their  own  merit,  they  are  interesting  for 
the  sake  of  his  later  work.  They  are  reproduced  by  kind  permission  of 
Mrs.  William  Black  and  the  Messrs.  Hedderwick.  The  third  piece 
here  given  is  reproduced  from  the  novelist's  later  "  Rhymes  of  a 
Deerstalker,"  by  favour  of  Messrs.  Sampson  Low,  Marston  &  Co. 


406         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 


EYLOMEL 

Up  the  morn  the  red  was  creeping, 
Mists  across  the  plain  were  sleeping, 
Sedges  dark  and  low  were  weeping 
O'er  the  beauteous  Eylomel. 

There  she  lay  amid  the  shiver 
Of  the  sedges  on  the  river, 
Gleaming  white,  but  silent  ever, 
Golden-tressed  Eylomel. 

Far  away  where  leaves  were  swaying, 
Tender  hearts  for  her  were  praying — 
Little  lips  their  lesson  saying  : 

"  Bless,  O  God,  our  Eylomel !  " 

Dark  the  waters  o'er  her  streaming, 
Ghastly  white  the  pale  face  gleaming, 
Silent  all  the  sedges  dreaming 
Side  by  side  with  Eylomel. 


TO   LILY   F . 

0  dear  little  lady,  with  earnest  eyes 
Of  wonderful,  beautiful  blue — 

1  see  you  are  struck  with  a  sweet  surprise 

That  we  should  be  looking  at  you. 


WILLIAM    BLACK  407 

You  know  not  the  joy  which  a  primrose  bloom 

Gives  to  a  dweller  in  towns, 
Bringing  him  visions  of  sea-dipped  gloom, 

And  fragrance  of  breezy  downs. 

You  know  not  the  beauty  of  those  blue  eyes, 

Or  the  sudden  electrical  flush 
Which  laughingly  up  to  your  sweet  face  flies, 

Too  simple  and  pretty  to  blush. 

Your  father  is  one  of  those  poets,  my  child, 
Who  were  born  in  the  woodlands  to  roam ; 

Yet  why  should  he  sigh  after  flowerets  wild 
With  such  a  sweet  Lily  at  home  ?  * 


ADAM    O'   FINTRY 

"  O  mother,  mother,  steik  the  door, 

And  hap  me  in  my  bed  : 
O  what  is  the  ringing  in  that  kirk-tower  ?  " 

"  It's  Adam  o'  Fintry 's  wed." 

"  It's  Adam  o'  Fintry  was  my  love 
When  the  spring  was  on  the  lea ; 

It's  Adam  o'  Fintry  was  my  love 
When  the  leaf  fell  frae  the  tree. 


*  These  verses  were  addressed  to  the  infant  daughter  of  Black's  early 
friend,  Mr.  William  Freeland. 


408        THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

"  O  mother,  mother,  steik  the  door, 
And  make  the  window  fast ; 

And  wrap  the  sheet  around  my  een 
Till  a'  the  folk  be  past. 

"  And  smiles  he  on  the  bonnie  bride  ? 

And  is  she  jimp  and  fair  ? 
And  make  they  for  the  castle-towers 

Upon  the  banks  of  Ayr  ? 

"  Oh  what  is  this,  mother,  I  hear? 

The  bell  goes  slower  and  slow ; 
And  are  they  making  ready  now 

For  the  dark  way  I  maun  go  ? 

"  You'll  lay  me  out  upon  the  bed 
In  a  fair  white  linen  sheet ; 

With  candles  burning  at  my  heid, 
And  at  my  cauld,  cauld  feet. 

"  But  mother,  bid  them  ring  low  and  low 
Upon  the  morrow's  morn ; 

For  I  wouldna  that  Fintry  heard  the  bell 
When  to  the  kirk  I'm  borne." 


ROBERT   BUCHANAN 

1841-1901 

NOT  less  ambitious  than  his  comrade,  David  Gray,  Robert  Buchanan, 
when  a  young  man,  wrote  to  Philip  Hamerton,  "  I  mean,  after 
Tennyson's  death,  to  be  Poet -Laureate."  More  fortunate,  in  one  sense, 
than  his  friend,  he  lived  to  prove  the  words  no  mere  idle  boast.  There 
can  be  little  doubt  that  had  he  remained  of  the  temper  for  it,  when 
Tennyson  passed  away  no  poet  could  have  advanced  a  stronger  claim 
by  merit  for  the  honour  than  Robert  Buchanan.  Unfortunately,  his 
temper  had  changed.  By  dint  of  his  readiness  to  come  to  blows  with 
any  one  and  every  one,  he  had  made  himself  the  Ishmael  of  the  literary 
world,  and  for  this  reason,  it  would  seem,  the  real  greatness  of  his 
work  has  never  been  adequately  recognised.  But  the  merit  is  there, 
and  doubtless  its  day  will  come. 

Though  born  at  Caverswall,  in  Staffordshire,  :8th  August,  1841  (his 
mother  was  an  Englishwoman,  Margaret  Williams,  of  Stoke-on-Trent), 
Buchanan  was  reared  in  Glasgow,  and  received  his  education  at 
Glasgow  Academy,  High  School,  and  University.  His  father,  one  of 
Robert  Owen's  band  of  Socialists,  was  editor  of  the  Sentinel  newspaper, 
and  from  the  first  the  son  breathed  a  literary  atmosphere.  Gray  was 
his  closest  friend,  and  in  the  Buchanan  household  at  9  Oakfield 
Terrace,  and  in  the  Sentinel  office  in  Howard  Street,  the  pair  talked 
over  their  plans,  and  dreamed  their  dreams.  Buchanan's  early  efforts 
found  a  ready  place  in  his  father's  somewhat  Bohemian  paper,  and 
when  the  crisis  arrived  he  was  ready  for  it.  His  father  became 
bankrupt,  and,  without  money  or  influence,  his  career  at  the 
University  cut  short,  the  young  poet  had  to  face  the  world  for  himself. 
On  a  day  in  May,  1860,  Gray  burst  in  on  him  with  the  news,  "  Bob, 
I'm  off  to  London  !"  Buchanan's  mind  was  made  up,  and  he  went 
also.  He  himself  has  told  the  story  of  that  adventure — how  the  two  by 


4io        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

some  mistake  travelled  by  separate  routes,  how  for  economic  and 
romantic  reasons  he  spent  his  first  night  in  London  in  the  Hotel  of  the 
Stars,  otherwise,  in  the  open  air  ;  and  how  he  put  in  his  first  year  in  an 
attic  in  Stamford  Street,  Blackfriars. 

At  first  he  had  the  comradeship  of  David  Gray ;  and  William  Black 
and  Charles  Gibbons  found  their  way  to  him  later,  but  for  most  of  the 
time  he  was  alone,  and  driven  by  his  loneliness  to  seek  strange 
company.  "  I  have  walked,"  he  wrote  afterwards,  "  for  long  hours  by 
midnight  between  Stamford  Street  and  the  Bridge  of  Sighs,  almost 
crying  for  companionship.  The  street-walker  knew  me,  and  told  me 
of  her  life,  as  we  stood  in  the  moonlight,  looking  down  upon  the 
Thames.  From  the  loafer  and  the  tavern-haunter,  as  from  my  first 
friend,  the  thief,  I  got  help,  friendliness,  and  comfort.  But  I  wanted 
something  else,  and  I  knew  not  what.  I  was  full  of  insane  visions  and 
aspirations.  Poetry  possessed  me  like  a  passion.  Elsewhere  there 
were  pipes  and  beer,  Mimi,  loose  raiment,  and  loose  jokes.  But  my 
yearning  was  not  for  these,  but  for  the  dead  poets  and  the  dead  gods." 

Presently  he  found  work  on  the  Athenceum,  and  was  entrusted  by 
Mr.  John  Morley  with  books  to  review  for  the  Literary  Gazette. 
Dickens,  asked  by  Edmund  Yates  for  a  list  of  the  best  contributors  to 
All  the  Year  Round,  included  his  name,  and  he  was  asked  accordingly 
to  write  for  Temple  Bar.  His  first  independent  publication  had  been  a 
volume  of  poems  issued  under  the  name  of  "  Undertones"  in  1860.  It 
was  followed  by  his  "  Idylls  and  Legends  of  Inverburn,"  a  series  of 
legendary  sketches,  pathetic,  humorous,  and  weird.  "  London 
Poems,"  his  third  production,  assured  his  position  as  a  poet.  It  was 
followed  by  a  stream  of  volumes  from  his  pen.  Among  the  number 
were  "  Ballad  Stories  of  the  Affections,"  translated  from  the  Scandi- 
navian; "The  North  Coast,  and  other  Poems";  "The  Drama  of 
Kings  "  ;  and  "  The  Land  of  Lome."  "  The  Book  of  Orm,"  conceived 
amid  the  tremendous  scenery  of  Loch  Coruisk  in  Skye,  and  published 
in  1868,  struck  a  new  and  daring  note  in  religious  thought  as  effective 
as  it  is  wildly  beautiful.  In  1870  he  received  from  Mr.  Gladstone's 
Government  a  pension  of  ^100  a  year.  Four  years  later  he  began  his 
series  of  novels,  each  with  a  purpose.  Among  these  his  "  Shadow  of 
the  Sword  "  is  a  powerful  polemic  against  war,  while  "  God  and  the 
Man"  illustrates  forcibly  the  vanity  of  individual  hate.  Also  in  1874 
he  appeared  as  a  playwright,  his  "  Madcap  Prince,'  written  in  youth, 


ROBERT   BUCHANAN          411 

being  produced  at  the  Haymarket.  It  was  followed  by  a  succession  ot 
plays— "Napoleon  Fallen,"  "  The  Witchfinder,"  "A  Nine  Days' 
Queen,"  "Alone  in  London,"  and  others.  Among  his  other  works 
were  the  novels  "A  Child  of  Nature,"  in  1879  ;  and  "The  Martyrdom 
of  Madeline,"  in  1882.  "  St.  Abe  and  his  Seven  Wives,"  and  "  White 
Rose  and  Red,"  were  published  anonymously  as  a  trap  for  the  critics. 
"  Ballads  of  Life,  Love,  and  Humour"  appeared  in  1882,  and  "The 
Wandering  Jew"  in  1890.  A  collected  edition  of  his  poems  was 
published  shortly  before  his  death. 

Throughout  his  career  Buchanan  was  seldom  without  some  great 
controversy  in  hand,  in  which  he  was  the  attacking  party.  His  early 
assault  on  the  "Fleshly  School  of  Poetry"  (Rossetti  and  his  friends) 
must  remain  historic  ;  and  his  last,  on  "  Imperial  Cockneydom  "  and 
Mr.  Rudyard  Kipling,  is  likely  also  to  be  remembered.  His  fighting 
temper  extended  even  to  his  private  affairs.  Under  the  impression  that 
his  works  received  less  than  justice  from  publishers  and  managers  of 
theatres,  he  became  his  own  theatrical  manager  and  book  producer, 
only,  alas  !  to  come  to  grief  in  both  arenas.  Something  of  his  fighting 
spirit  and  colossal  pride  was  foreseen  by  a  publisher  on  whom  he 
called  in  his  early  days  in  London.  "  I  don't  like  that  young  man," 
said  the  publisher;  "he  talks  to  me  as  if  he  were  God  Almighty  or 
Lord  Byron."  Nevertheless,  from  first  to  last  the  poet  was  as  warm- 
hearted as  he  was  hot-headed.  On  a  December  night  in  1861  he 
started  from  his  sleep  weeping.  "What  is  wrong?"  asked  Gibbons, 
who  shared  his  attic  at  the  time.  "  David  Gray  is  dead,"  replied 
Buchanan.  The  next  post  brought  from  Scotland  the  news  of  Gray's 
death. 

During  his  last  years  the  poet  made  his  home  at  Southend-on-Sea, 
and  there  he  lies  buried.  His  position  in  the  world  of  letters  has  yet 
to  be  assigned,  but  there  can  be  no  doubt  it  is  by  his  poetry  that  his 
name  will  live.  Buchanan's  genius  was  like  his  blood,  Celtic. 
Behind  it  lay  an  unsatisfied  yearning  and  a  wistful  pathos  that  on 
occasion  could  break  either  into  hot  wrath,  kindly  laughter,  or  happy 
tears.  His  "Balder  the  Beautiful"  and  "The  City  of  Dream"  are 
surely  immortal,  and  as  a  ballad-writer  he  had  no  living  rival. 

The  following  poem  is  included  here  by  kind  permission  of  Miss 
Harriett  Jay  and  Messrs.  Chatto  &  Windus. 


412         THE    GLASGOW    POETS 


THE   BALLAD   OF  JUDAS    ISCARIOT 

'Twas  the  body  of  Judas  Iscariot  lay  in  the  field  of  blood  ; 
'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  beside  the  body  stood. 
Black  was  the  earth  by  night,  and  black  was  the  sky  ; 
Black,  black  were  the  broken  clouds,  though  the  red  moon 

went  by. 
'Twas  the  body  of  Judas  Iscariot  strangled  and  dead  lay 

there  ; 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  looked  on  it  in  despair. 
The  breath  of  the  World  came  and  went,  like  a  sick  man's 

in  rest  ; 
Drop  by  drop  on  the  World's  eyes  the  dews  fell  cool  and 

blest. 

Then  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  did  make  a  gentle  moan  — 
"  I  will  bury  underneath  the  ground  my  flesh  and  blood 

and  bone. 
I  will  bury  them  deep  beneath  the  soil,  lest  mortals  look 

thereon, 

And  when  the  wolf  and  raven  come  the  body  will  be  gone  ! 
The  stones  of  the  field  are  sharp  as  steel,  and  hard  and 

cold,  God  wot  ; 
And  I  must  bear  my  body  hence  until  I  find  a  spot  !  " 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot,  so  grim,  and  gaunt,  and 


Raised  the  body  of  Judas  Iscariot,  and  carried  it  away. 
And  as  he  bare  it  from  the  field  its  touch  was  cold  as  ice, 
And  the  ivory  teeth  within  the  jaw  rattled  aloud  like  dice. 


ROBERT    BUCHANAN  413 

As  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  carried  its  load  with  pain, 
The  Eye  of  Heaven,  like  a  lanthorn's  eye,  opened  and  shut 

again. 

Half  he  walked,  and  half  he  seemed  lifted  on  the  cold  wind ; 
He  did   not   turn,    for   chilly   hands   were   pushing  from 

behind. 

The  first  place  that  he  came  unto  it  was  the  open  wold, 
And  underneath  were  prickly  whins,  and  a  wind  that  blew 

so  cold. 

The  next  place  that  he  came  unto,  it  was  a  stagnant  pool, 
And  when  he  threw  the  body  in  it  floated  light  as  wool. 
He  drew  the  body  on  his  back,  and  it  was  dripping  chill, 
And  the  next  place  he  came  unto  was  a  Cross  upon  a  hill. 
A  Cross  upon  the  windy  hill,  and  a  Cross  on  either  side, 
Three  skeletons  that  swing  thereon,  who  had  been  crucified. 
And  on  the  middle  cross-bar  sat  a  white  dove  slumbering ; 
Dim  it  sat  in  the  dim  light,  with  its  head  beneath  its  wing. 
And  underneath  the  middle  cross  a  grave  yawned  wide  and 

vast, 

But  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  shivered  and  glided  past. 
The  fourth  place  that  he  came  unto  it  was  the  Brig  of 

Dread, 
And  the  great  torrents  rushing  down  were  deep,  and  swift, 

and  red. 

He  dared  not  fling  the  body  in  for  fear  of  faces  dim, 
And  arms  were  waved  in  the  wild  water,  to  thrust  it  back  to 

him. 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  turned  from  the  Brig  of  Dread, 
And  the  dreadful  foam  of  the  wild  water  had  splashed  the 
bodyjed. 


414        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

For  days  and  nights  he  wandered  on  upon  an  open  plain, 
And  the  days  went  by  like  blinding  mist,  and  the  nights 

like  rushing  rain. 
For  days  and  nights  he  wandered  on,  all  through  the  Wood 

of  Woe; 
And  the  nights  went  by  like  moaning  wind,  and  the  days 

like  drifting  snow. 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  came  with  a  weary  face — 
Alone,  alone,  and  all  alone,  alone  in  a  lonely  place. 
He  wandered  east,  he  wandered  west,  and  heard  no  human 

sound ; 
For  months  and  years,  in  grief  and  tears,  he   wandered 

round  and  round. 
For  months  and  years,  in  grief  and  tears,  he  walked  the 

silent  night ; 

Then  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  perceived  a  far-off  light. 
A  far-off  light  across  the  waste,  as  dim  as  dim  might  be, 
That  came  and  went,  like  the  lighthouse  gleam  on  a  black 

night  at  sea. 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  crawled  to  the  distant 

gleam ; 
And  the  rain  came  down,  and  the  rain  was  blown  against 

him  with  a  scream. 
For  days  and  nights  he  wandered  on,  pushed  on  by  hands 

behind ; 
And  the  days  went  by  like  black,  black  rain,  and  the  nights 

like  rushing  wind. 
'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot,  strange,  and  sad,    and 

tall, 
Stood  all  alone  at  dead  of  night  before  a  lighted  hall, 


ROBERT    BUCHANAN  415 

And  the  world  was  white   with  snow,  and  his  footmarks 

black  and  damp, 
And  the  ghost  of  the  silver  Moon  arose,  holding  his  yellow 

lamp. 
And  the  icicles  were  on  the  eaves,  and  the  walls  were  deep 

with  white, 
And   the   shadows   of  the   guests   within    passed   on   the 

window  light. 
The  shadows  of  the  wedding  guests  did  strangely  come  and 

go, 

And  the  body  of  Judas  Iscariot  lay  stretched  along  the  snow. 
The  body  of  Judas  Iscariot  lay  stretched  along  the  snow ; 
'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  ran  swiftly  to  and  fro. 
To  and  fro,  and  up  and  down,  he  ran  so  swiftly  there, 
As  round  and  round  the  frozen  Pole  glideth  the  lean  white 

bear. 

'Twas  the  Bridegroom  sat  at  the  table  head,  and  the  lights 
burnt  bright  and  clear — 

"Oh,  who  is  that,"  the  Bridegroom  said,  "whose  weary  feet 
I  hear?" 

Twas  one  who  looked  from  the  lighted  hall,  and  answered 
soft  and  low, 

"  It  is  a  wolf  runs  up  and  down,  with  a  black  track  in  the 
snow." 

The  Bridegroom  in  His  robe  of  white  sat  at  the  table  head — 

"  Oh,  who  is  he  that  moans  without  ? "  the  blessed  Bride- 
groom said. 

'Twas  one  that  looked  from  the  lighted  hall,  and  answered 
fierce  and  low, 

11  Tis  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  gliding  to  and  fro," 


416        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  did  hush  itself  and  stand, 
And  saw  the  Bridegroom  at  the  door  with  a  light  in  His 

hand. 
The  Bridegroom  stood  in  the  open  door,  and  He  was  clad 

in  white, 
And  far  within  the  Lord's  Supper  was  spread  so  broad  and 

bright. 
The  Bridegroom  shaded  His  eyes  and  looked,  and  His 

face  was  bright  to  see — 
"  What  dost  thou  here  at  the  Lord's  Supper  with  thy  body's 

sins  ?  "  said  He. 
'Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  stood  black,  and  sad,  and 

bare — 
"  I  have  wandered  many  nights  and  days ;  there  is  no  light 

elsewhere." 
'Twas  the  wedding  guests  cried  out  within,  and  their  eyes 

were  fierce  and  bright — 
"  Scourge  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  away  into  the  night !  " 

The  Bridegroom  stood  in  the  open  door,  and  He  waved 

hands  still  and  slow, 
And  the  third  time  that  He  waved  His  hands  the  air  was 

thick  with  snow. 
And  of  every  flake  of  falling  snow,  before  it  touched  the 

ground, 
There  came  a   dove,  and  a  thousand  doves  made  sweet 

sound. 

'Twas  the  body  of  Judas  Iscariot  floated  away  full  fleet, 
And  the  wings  of  the  doves  that  bare  it  off  were  like  its 

winding-sheet. 


ROBERT    BUCHANAN  417 

'Twas    the    Bridegroom    stood   at    the    open    door,    and 

beckoned,  smiling  sweet ; 

Twas  the  soul  of  Judas  Iscariot  stole  in  and  fell  at  His  feet. 
"  The  Holy  Supper  is  spread  within,  and  the  many  candles 

shine, 

And  I  have  waited  long  for  thee  before  I  poured  the  wine  !" 
The  supper  wine  is  poured  at  last,  the  lights  burn  bright 

and  fair  ; 
Iscariot  washes  the  Bridegroom's  feet,  and  dries  them  with 

his  hair. 


WALTER   C.    SPENS 

1842-1900 

DESCENDED  of  an  old  Fifeshire  family,  Spens  of  Lathallan,  Walter 
Cook  Spens  was  born  in  Glasgow,  was  educated  at  Glasgow  and  Edin- 
burgh Universities,  and  in  1865  was  called  to  the  Bar.  Already,  in  1863, 
he  had  published  his  first  volume  of  verse,  "  Dreams  and  Realities,"  and 
had  developed  a  passion  for  the  game  of  chess.  Both  of  these  accom- 
plishments, no  less  than  his  legal  acumen,  commended  him  to  Sheriff 
Glassford  Bell,  who  in  1870  appointed  him  a  Sheriff-Substitute  of 
Lanarkshire.  After  presiding  in  Hamilton  Court  for  six  years  he  was 
transferred  by  Sheriff  Clark  to  Glasgow,  where  he  remained  till  his 
death.  He  was  author  of  several  valuable  contributions  to  legal 
literature,  and  was  known  throughout  his  career  as  an  able,  painstaking, 
and  courteous  judge.  In  1881  he  published  his  second  volume  of 
verse,  "  Darroll  and  Other  Poems,"  and  in  1889  Glasgow  University 
conferred  on  him  the  degree  of  LL.D.  He  was  a  keen  golfer,  and  was 
said  to  be  the  finest  exponent  of  the  game  of  chess  in  Scotland.  So 
eager  was  he  for  a  fine  game  that  he  occasionally  journeyed  to  Perth 
Penitentiary  to  play  with  a  certain  Angus  M'Phie  confined  there,  a 
triple  murderer  and  maniac,  who  was  nevertheless  the  solver,  in  half  an 
hour,  of  Raikes's  great  chess  problem.  On  the  death  of  David  Wingate, 
Sheriff  Spens  became  vice-president  of  the  Glasgow  Ballad  Club,  and 
several  of  his  poems  are  published  in  its  volumes.  Some  details  of 
his  life  were  furnished  in  Mr.  Walker-Brown's  volume,  "Clydeside 
Litterateurs,"  and  in  the  Glasgow  Herald  on  the  day  of  his  death,  I2th 
July,  1900.  The  following  poem  is  included  here  by  kind  permission 
of  Sheriff  Spens's  representatives. 


WALTER   C.   SPENS  419 


IN   THE   CHAMBER   OF   DEATH 

Oh  God,  he  is  dead,  and  he  thought  me  true — 
I  who  am  false  as  a  fiend  of  hell ! 
Is  it  best  for  him  that  he  never  knew 
My  wifehood  a  lie  from  beginning  to  end  ? 
On  his  death-bed  his  heart  I  dared  not  rend. 
Oh,  was  it  not  for  his  happiness  well 
That  he  died  with  his  hand  in  mine,  his  eye 
On  my  lying  face  fixed  so  lovingly ! 

Alone  with  the  dead — alone  !  alone ! 
I  wonder  in  truth  I  am  not  afraid. 
Has  fear  from  my  heart  so  utterly  gone, 
Through  the  awful  blight  of  my  damning  sin, 
That  never  again  it  can  enter  in  ? 
Otherwise  how  do  I  dread  not  his  shade 
May  rise  to  invoke  a  curse  on  the  head 
Of  her  who  so  terribly  wronged  the  dead  ? 

Is  he  conscious  how  I  wronged  him  now  ? 

Surely — surely  it  cannot  be  ! 

It  would  rob  peace  from  his  radiant  brow 

To  know,  the  woman  for  whom  he  wrought — 

Who  was  his  pride  and  his  chiefest  thought — 

Was  vile  as  the  daughter  of  misery 

Who  prowls  for  gain  on  the  streets  at  night — 

Worse  !     I  have  sinned  against  knowledge  and  light, 


420        THE    GLASGOW    POETS 

He  whispered,  "  Love,  take  care  of  our  son. 

You  will  love  him  more  for  me,  darling  wife  ! 

Guide  him  in  all  that  is  right  when  I'm  gone." 

Oh,  God  of  Heaven  !     I  thrill  through  and  through  ! 

Twas  thus  he  whispered,  deeming  me  true, 

And  pure  as  the  lily  !     Oh,  hideous  life  ! 

What  can  I  do  ?  and  oh,  where  can  I  flee  ? 

For  after  death  comes  black  eternity. 

At  last  I  know  that  I  love  him  now, 

As  he  grandly  lies  with  his  raven  hair 

Clammily  clinging  to  marble  brow. 

And  oh,  that  a  vile,  shallow  woman's  lies 

Could  deceive  a  man  so  noble  and  wise  ! 

And  he  thought  me  true  as  he  thought  me  fair ! 

His  words  of  love  haunt  me,  and  make  me  shiver — 

They  will  haunt  and  curse  me,  I  know,  for  ever. 

He  has  left  me  wealth  :  that  other  will  come, 

With  a  smile  on  his  beautiful,  lying  face, 

And  ask  me,  "  When  will  you  come  to  my  home  ?  " 

I  will  rise  and  call  a  curse  on  his  head^ 

The  bitterest  ever  a  woman  said. 

Though  he  cloud  my  life  with. the  foulest  disgrace, 

As  his  pitiless  spite  will  do,  I  know, 

It  is  well ;  I  can  feel  no  darker  woe. 

As  I  loved  him  once  so  I  hate  him  now. 
I  knew  it  before  my  wronged  husband  died, 
I  solemnly  swore,  and  I'll  keep  my  vow, 
I  would  never,  never,  whatever  my  life, 


WALTER   C.    SPENS  421 

Allow  myself  to  be  named  his  wife, 
And  I  swear  it  again,  whatever  betide — 
Aye,  here  by  the  Ruler  of  Heaven  I  swear  ! 
I  am  utterly  reckless,  and,  Mark,  beware ! 

Spilt  water  !  spilt  water !  that  never  again 
Can  be  gathered  up,  though  it  might  have  been 
A  draught  of  blessing  instead  of  pain. 
Oh,  the  agony  of  remorse,  to  think 
I  refused  from  his  hands  the  cup  to  drink ! 
And  the  noblest  man  I  have  ever  seen, 
Whose  nature  was  clear  as  the  heaven  above, 
Relied  on  a  shallow,  lost  woman's  love  ! 

Will  a  life  of  repentance  wash  out  my  sin  ? 
I  doubt  there  is  more  than  enough  to  damn. 
Nor  greatly  now  care  I  that  heaven  to  win 
Where  that  upright  one  will  be  sure  to  be, 
Who  gave  me  his  heart  so  trustfully, 
And  deemed  this  lost  wretch  a  stainless  lamb. 
Oh,  it  were  worse  hell  to  meet  him  there ! 
Rather  give  me  hell  and  its  black  despair ! 


ALEXANDER   G.    MURDOCH 

1843-1891 

OF  Scottish  sons  of  song  whose  powers  may  be  held  to  have  been 
tempted  forth  by  the  offering  of  rewards,  probably  the  most  considerable 
was  the  author  of  "The  Laird's  Lykewake."  In  his  eighteenth  year 
he  won  the  first  prize  offered  by  a  London  weekly  periodical.  A  little 
later  he  was  first  in  the  Christmas  competition  of  the  People's  Journal, 
Dundee.  In  1879  ne  won  the  medal  offered  by  the  Committee  of  the 
Burns  Monument  at  Kilmarnock  for  a  poem  on  the  Ayrshire  bard. 
And  he  afterwards  carried  off  the  gold  medal  offered  by  a  native  of 
Dumfries  for  lines  on  "  Kossuth  at  the  Grave  of  Burns." 

With  these  exceptions  Alexander  G.  Murdoch  may  be  said  to  have 
had  no  outside  help  towards  the  development  of  his  talent.  Born  in 
the  northern  part  of  Glasgow,  in  humble  circumstances,  in  April,  1843, 
he  enjoyed  only  a  scanty  education,  and  was  early  apprenticed  to  the 
trade  of  a  marine  engineer.  He  was  employed  successively  in 
the  works  of  Messrs.  Tod  &  M'Gregor  and  Messrs.  Singer. 
At  an  early  date,  however,  he  began  to  discover  a  literary 
faculty.  In  1870  he  contributed  a  humorous  poem,  "The  Brae  o' 
Life,"  to  the  Weekly  Mail  newspaper,  and  followed  it  rapidly  by  others 
in  similar  vein,  till  in  1872  he  was  able  to  publish  a  volume  of  pieces, 
"Lilts  on  the  Doric  Lyre,"  which  proved  highly  successful.  Four 
years  later  he  produced  the  volume  by  which  he  is  best  known — "The 
Laird's  Lykewake  and  Other  Poems."  The  chief  poem  is  a  narrative 
on  the  model  of  the  "Canterbury  Tales,"  or  the  Ettrick  Shepherd's 
"  Queen's  Wake,"  in  which  each  of  the  mourners  round  the  laird's  bier 
tells  a  tale  or  sings  a  song  to  entertain  the  company.  Murdoch's  third 
and  final  volume  of  poetry  was  "  Rhymes  and  Lyrics,"  published 
in  1879. 


ALEXANDER   G.    MURDOCH    423 

Meanwhile  he  had  been  contributing  popular  readings  and  tales  to  the 
People's  Journal,  the  Weekly  Mail^  and  other  papers,  and  in  1878  had 
finally  given  up  his  trade  for  a  place  on  the  staff  of  the  Mail.  By  his 
succession  of  serial  stories — "  Fire  and  Sword,"  "  Sweet  Nellie  Gray," 
"  Bob  Allan's  Lass,"  and  the  like — he  became  a  popular  exponent  of 
the  fiction  of  humble  life.  In  1880  he  contributed  to  the  North  British 
Daily  Mail  a  series  of  articles  on  "  Recent  and  Living  Scottish  Poets  " 
of  much  biographical  value,  which  has  since  gone  through  two  editions 
in  volume  form.  Another  series  on  "  Scottish  Fiddlers  and  Fiddle 
Making  "  has  also  made  an  interesting  book.  It  is  as  a  poet  of  the 
people,  however,  that  he  is  likely  to  be  remembered.  With  a  true 
instinct  and  a  genuine  gift  of  melody,  he  sang  of  the  things  before  his 
eyes,  and  the  real  life  he  knew.  He  died  at  his  house  in  Bellgrove 
Street,  I2th  February,  1901.  The  following  piece  is  included  here  by 
kind  permission  of  the  poet's  son. 


THE    BURNS    MONUMENT,    KILMARNOCK 
Prize  Medal  Poem 

I  handle  life's  kaleidoscope,  and  lo  !  as  round  it  turns, 
I  see,  beneath  an  arc  of  hope,  the  young  boy-poet,  Burns. 
Dream-visioned,  all  the  long,  rich  day  he  toils  with  pulse  of 

pride 

Among  the  sun-gilt  ricks  of  hay,  his  Nellie  by  his  side. 
The  world  to  him  seems  wondrous  fair :  sunrise  and  sunset 

fill 

With  music  all  the  love-touched  air,  intoned  in  bird  and  rill. 
Time  moves  apace  :  the  ardent  boy  confronts  life's  deep'ning 

fight, 
And    "Handsome    Nell"  —  a    first-love  joy— melts   into 

memory's  light. 


424        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

I  look  again,  and  shining  noon  still  finds  him  chained  to 

toil, 
His   soul   throned   with   the  lark   song-poised    above   the 

daisied  soil ; 
Mossgiel !  upon  thy  greensward  now  the  song-king  grandly 

stands, 
God's  sunshine  on  his  face  and  brow,  the  plough-horns  in 

his  hands. 
Mouse,  that  dost  run  with  "  bickerin'  gait,"  stay,  stay  thy 

trembling  flight, 
The  bard  who  wept  the  daisy's  fate  laments  thy  hapless 

plight  j 
And  perchance,  when  the  gloamin'  lies  on  glen  and  hillside 

green, 
Thy  mishap  may  re-wet  his  eyes,  told  o'er  to  Bonnie  Jean. 

Kilmarnock !  oft  thy  streets  and  lanes  echoed  the  poet's 

tread. 
He  brought  to  thee  his  matchless  strains,  asking  for  fame — 

not  bread ; 
And  see,  the   proud   bard,   dream-wrapt,    stands  for  one 

sweet  hour  apart, 
His  book  of  song  within  his  hands,  and  in  his  book — his 

heart ! 

O,  happy  town,  that  gave  the  bard  a  gift  hope-eloquent, 
His  dearest  wish  and  first  reward — his  book  in  "  guid  black 

prent  " ; 
And  proudlier  throbbed  his  heart  by  far  when  that  same 

book  he  pressed, 
Than   if  a  coronet  and  star  had  decked  him,  brow  and 

breast. 


ALEXANDER   G.   MURDOCH    425 

The  glass  revolves  again,  and  lo !  Edina  fair  appears, 

And  men  around  him  come  and  go,  and  Rank  a  proud 

front  rears ; 
And  Wealth  and   Fashion,   gaily  decked,    look    on  with 

lofty  eye, 
While  Learning,  with  a  vague  respect,   bows  as  the  bard 

goes  by. 
Mark  him,  ye  great !     The  plough  and  clod  befit  him  ill, 

I  trow — 
The  living  autograph  of  God  flashed  from  his  eye  and  brow. 


The  drama  hurries  on :  the  bard  retires  to  Ellisland ; 

At  plough  and  hairst-rig  tolling  hard — a  toiler  strong  and 
grand, 

A  curbed  Elijah,  peasant-born,  daring  Song's  windy  height, 

His  homely  garb,  clay-stained  and  worn,  a  prophet's  robe  of 
light. 

His  giant  heart  his  only  lyre,  by  Love's  rich  breath  oft 
stirred, 

Till  memory's  passion-gusts  of  fire  among  its  chords  were 
heard. 

And  never  from  ^Eolian  wires  was  holier  music  wrung 

Than  what  his  heart's  re-kindled  fires  at  Mary's  grave- 
shrine  flung. 

The  veil  uplifts  once  more,  and  now,  sublimcst  scene  of  all ! 
His  lion-heart  still  strong,  his  brow  erect,  although  the  gall 
And  bitterness  of  trampled  hopes  sadden  his  weary  soul, 
As  he,  a  stricken  song-god,  gropes  towards  the  final  goal. 


426        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Dumfries,  no  longer  doth  he  tread  thy  stony  streets,  soul- 
tired — 

The  dark  clouds  settling  o'er  his  head,  by  genius  glorified. 

Ring  down  the  curtain  !  Bow  the  head !  The  last  sad 
scene  is  o'er ! 

A  nation  mourns  the  mighty  dead,  and  weeps  the  wrongs 
he  bore. 

Sun,  that  no  shadow  now  can  cloud  !     Heart,  that  no  sorrow 

wrings  ! 
Man,  in  whose  praises  all  are  loud !     Voice,  that  for  ever 

sings  ! 

A  people's  love  the  holy  bier  that  holds  thy  worth  in  trust, 
With  glory  flashing  through  the  tear  that  drops  above  thy 

dust; 

O,  rich  inheritor  of  fame,  rewarded  well  at  last, 
Whose  strong  soul,  like  a  sword  of  flame,  smites  with  fierce 

light  the  past, 
This  sculptured   pile,   in   trumpet   tones,  attests  thy  vast 

renown — 
A  nobler  heirship  than  the  thrones  to  princes  handed  down. 


ROBERT   WALKER 

1843-1900 

FOR  twenty  years  Secretary  of  the  Glasgow  Institute  of  the  Fine  Arts, 
and  full  of  real  interest  and  zeal  in  his  office,  Robert  Walker  probably 
did  more  than  any  one  else  in  his  time  to  help  substantially  the  cause  of 
painting  in  the  city.  No  figure  was  deservedly  better  known  in  the  art 
circles  of  the  West  of  Scotland  than  that  of  the  earnest,  kindly, 
humorous  little  Secretary ;  and  to  the  real  support  awakened  and 
assiduously  fostered  by  him  about  his  Institute  may  be  attributed  not  a 
little  of  the  development  of  that  Glasgow  School  which  has  become 
famous  in  the  painting  world.  But  Walker  was  also  a  man  of  letters 
and  a  poet.  He  was  one  of  the  founders  and  first  secretary  of  the 
Glasgow  Pen  and  Pencil  Club,  and  was  an  original  member  of  the 
Glasgow  Ballad  Club. 

Born  in  Glasgow,  I9th  March,  1843,  the  son  of  a  banker,  he  was 
educated  at  the  Edinburgh  Institution,  and  in  1858  apprenticed  to  the 
Edinburgh  Life  Assurance  Company.  After  filling  the  positions 
successively  of  the  company's  inspector  for  Lancashire  and  for  Ireland, 
and  secretary  for  Dublin,  he  returned  to  Glasgow  in  1872  as  Scottish 
secretary  of  the  Reliance  Society  ;  and  when  the  Glasgow  Institute  of 
the  Fine  Arts  was  established  in  1880,  he  became  its  acting  secretary. 
This  position  he  held  till  his  death.  At  the  same  time,  from  the  days 
of  his  apprenticeship,  he  had  practised  his  literary  faculty.  As  early  as 
1863  he  had  contributed  stories  and  sketches  to  the  Glasgow  Citizen  and 
Hedderwictt  s  Miscellany.  Now,  with  the  opportunities  afforded  by  the 
Institute,  he  became  an  acknowledged  writer  on  art  subjects.  Nearly 
half  the  biographical  articles  in  Messrs.  Isbister's  volume,  "Toilers  in 
Art,"  were  written  by  him,  and  he  had  a  considerable  share  in  preparing 
the  memorial  volume  of  the  Fine  Art  Collection  of  Glasgow  Exhibition 
in  1888.  He  was  also  author  of  the  Glasgow  and  Aberdeen  special 
numbers  of  the  Graphic,  and  was  a  frequent  contributor  to  that  paper,  the 
Art  Journal,  Black  and  White,  and  other  periodicals.  He  did  not 
write  much  poetry,  but  his  "  Level  Crossing  "  has  long  been  a  popular 
recitation,  and  some  other  pieces  of  merit  are  included  in  the  volumes 
of  the  Ballad  Club. 


428         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 


CRILLON    THE   BRAVE 

Through  all  the  vast  cathedral  pile 
The  preacher's  deep  voice  rolled, 

As  he,  with  insight  rare  and  true, 
The  oft-heard  story  told 

Of  how  our  Lord  upon  the  cross 

The  sins  of  men  had  borne ; 
Of  how,  deserted  and  alone, 

He  met  men's  rage  and  scorn. 

No  frothy  pulpiteer  was  he : 

Straight  from  the  heart  he  spoke, 

And  in  his  hearers'  awe-struck  hearts 
An  answering  echo  woke. 

Among  the  crowd  old  Crillon  sat, 
His  whole  soul  deeply  stirred ; 

An  arrow  to  his  conscience  seemed 
The  preacher's  every  word. 

Crillon  the  brave — no  better  knight 

Than  he  had  wielded  lance 
In  all  the  fights  that  drenched  with  blood 

The  fairest  fields  of  France. 

His  king  he  served  with  honest  faith 
Through  many  a  doubtful  day — 

The  wisest  at  the  council  board 
The  foremost  in  the  fray. 


ROBERT   WALKER  429 

But  now,  of  court  and  camp  heart-sick, 

His  weary  soul  sought  rest ; 
The  warrior's  spirit  stern  and  rude 

The  Church's  power  confessed. 

White-haired  and  bent  old  Crillon  sat, 

His  wild,  hot  youth  all  past; 
But  still  he  burned  with  martial  fire, 

A  soldier  to  the  last. 

"  Deserted  and  alone,  no  friend 

To  pity,  none  to  save, 
The  meek-souled  Lamb  of  God  was  sent 

Despised  to  the  grave." 

The  preacher  paused  :  a  clash  of  steel 

Through  all  the  silence  rang, 
As  Crillon,  young  and  strong  once  more, 

To  his  full  stature  sprang. 

And,  waving  high  above  his  head 

His  battle-dinted  blade — 
That  blade  from  which  in  other  years 

His  foes  had  shrunk  dismayed, 

The  fierce  wild  light  of  long-past  days 

O'er-flushing  all  his  brow, 
He  cried,  with  anguish  in  his  cry, 

"  Oh,  Crillon,  where  wert  thou  ?  " 


JOHN    GILKISON 

1844-1895 

A  SOMEWHAT  sad-visaged  man,  evidently  enjoying  only  indifferent 
health,  of  slight,  stooping  figure,  and  a  sufferer  from  that  bane  of  the 
sedentary,  dyspepsia — such  was  John  Gilkison  in  his  later  years. 
Nevertheless  he  was  possessor  of  the  quaintest  vein  of  humour  that 
Glasgow  has  seen  among  her  poets,  and  amid  his  own  somewhat 
disheartening  experiences  of  life  he  generated  many  a  merry  quip  for 
the  delectation  of  others. 

Born  in  the  Gorbals  of  Glasgow,  the  poet  spent  much  of  his  boyhood 
on  his  grandfather's  farm  in  Ulster,  and  to  this  experience,  along  with 
the  Irish  blood  of  his  mother,  he  probably  owed  the  fine  humour  that 
he  kept  to  the  end.  At  school  in  Ireland  his  chief  friends  were  two 
nephews  of  Captain  Mayne  Reid.  They  lent  him  their  uncle's 
productions,  and  in  his  room  beneath  the  rafters,  where  he  was  sent 
early  to  bed,  with  the  poplars  swaying  in  the  wind  outside  the  little 
gable  window,  the  boy  pored  over  these  wonderful  tales.  At  the  age 
of  sixteen  he  was  apprenticed  to  the  trade  of  umbrella-making  in 
Glasgow,  and  for  twenty  years  remained  in  the  employment  of  his  first 
masters.  In  later  life  he  attempted,  without  much  success,  to 
establish  a  business  in  Dunbarton,  and  for  some  time  before  his  death 
he  occupied  the  position  of  a  clerk  in  one  of  the  departments  of 
Glasgow  Corporation.  It  may  be  suspected,  however,  that  his  real 
interest  was  never  in  the  details  of  his  trade.  At  one  time  he  had  a 
hankering  to  be  a  musician,  but  an  accident  to  a  finger  spoilt  his  violin 
hand.  He  had  also  thoughts  of  the  stage,  but  after  two  years'  member- 
ship of  the  David  Garrick  Club  he  was  disillusioned  by  finding  himself 
cast  for  nothing  higher  than  a  sailor  in  "  The  Rent  Day."  His  true  rdle 
was  that  of  humorist — a  slender  profession  to  make  a  living  by,  yet  one 
which,  with  greater  advantages  of  education,  he  might  have  turned 
to  sufficient  account.  It  was  to  his  faculty  that  the  Wizard  and  the  Bee, 
short-lived  Glasgow  comic  papers,  owed  whatever  happy  merit  they 
possessed  ;  and  he  was  the  "  Yorick  Glasguensis  "  from  whose  pen  came 
the  highly  amusing  Jean  Byde  Papers,  of  which  some  highly  successful 
numbers  were  published  in  1873.  He  was  author  of  Charles  Bernard's 


JOHN   GILKISON  431 

first  and  most  famous  pantomime  at  the  Gaiety  Theatre  in  Glasgow  ;  and 
he  was  adapter  of  the  next,  and  had  a  hand  in  many  successors.  Many 
of  the  songs  which  he  wrote  for  these  pantomimes,  such  as  "  The 
Calico  Ball"  and  "What's  wrang  wi'  ye?"  were  full  of  humorous 
local  allusions,  and  proved  immensely  popular  at  the  time.  Gilkison 
was  also  author  of  more  than  one  serial  tale,  and  he  wrote  a  series  of 
children's  toy  story  books  for  a  firm  of  Glasgow  publishers. 

The  only  work,  however,  by  which  Gilkison  is  likely  to  live  is  his 
poetry.  For  many  years  he  was  the  acknowledged  humorist  of  the 
Glasgow  Ballad  Club,  some  of  his  best  pieces  appearing  in  its  volumes. 
And  in  1888  he  gathered  his  productions  and  published  them  under  the 
title  of  "The  Minister's  Fiddle:  a  Book  of  Verse,  humorous  and 
otherwise." 

Alas,  poor  Yorick  !  After  more  than  one  fight  with  death,  in  circum- 
stances enough  to  quench  the  most  sturdy  humour,  he  was  carried  away 
by  the  bitter  February  of  1895,  when  the  cold  was  for  some  weeks  so 
intense  that  it  was  impossible  to  dig  graves  for  the  dead.  So  it 
seemed  that  the  earth  was  to  prove  inhospitable  to  its  jester  even  when 
his  quips  were  ended  and  his  lips  for  ever  closed. 


THE   LAMENT   OF   DOUGAL   MACGREGOR 

So  Dougal  lay  dead,  och  aree ! 

His  chanter  now  silenced  for  effer ; 
The  last  Red  Macgregor  wass  he, 

A  ferry  goot  job  whateffer. 
Oh,  'tis  he  that  wass  aye  the  wild  lad, 
With  hough  like  a  bullock  or  filly, 
His  life  had  its  goot  and  its  bad, 

Wass  piper  and  henchman  and  gillie. 
But  now  he  lay  dead,  och  aree  ! 

No  more  he  would  tread  on  the  heather ; 
And  clansmen  from  Luss  to  Lochee, 
AH  mourned  for  Dougal  together, 


432         THE   GLASGOW    POETS 

His  name  it  wass  known  far  and  wide, 

The  last  blood  of  Rob  Roy  Macgregor ; 
And  Rob  in  the  best  of  his  pride, 
I'm  sure  wasn't  wilder  or  bigger. 
He  neffer  was  anything  long, 

But  just  aye  a  wild  Hielan'  rover, 
Could  play  on  the  pipes,  sing  a  song, 

Wass  poacher  and  poatman  and  drover. 
And  famed,  too,  as  effery  wan  knows, 

From  Drymen  to  lonely  Glen  Falloch, 
And  known  to  the  Duke  of  Montrose, 
And  Constable  Campbell  in  Balloch. 
But  now  he  lay  dead,  och  aree  ! 

Stretched  out  by  old  Flora  Macluskie ; 
His  like  Drymen  Fair  ne'er  did  see 

For  dancing  and  drinking  the  whuskey ! 


The  last  night  that  Dougal  wass  here, 

He  sent  for  his  friends  altogether, 
And  kindly  they  gathered  them  near, 

O'er  mountain  and  moorland  and  heather. 
There  wass  Norman  and  Donald — ochon  ! 

And  two  cousin's  sons  from  Dunbarton, 
And  Hamish  and  Rob  and  young  Shon, 

And  others — true  sons  of  the  tartan. 
So  when  they  were  all  sitting  still, 

Then  Dougal  asked  old  Duncan  Dewar 
With  pen  just  to  write  out  his  will, 

To  make  all  things  certain  and  sure. 


JOHN    GILKISON  433 

"  My  poat  I  will  leave  to  young  Shon, 

My  shot-gun  to  wee  Archie  Biggar, 
My  tackle  to  Alison's  son, 

And  my  pipes  to  young  Hamish  Macgregor. 
And  the  Duke  of  Montrose's  man,  Shon — 

No  better  e'er  stood  in  shoe  leather — 
Has  twenty  goot  pounds  of  my  own, 

All  the  money  I  effer  could  gather. 
And  this  he  will  take,  and  employ 

To  bury  me,  ponnie  and  pleasant ; 
For  I'm  the  last  blood  of  Rob  Roy, 

I'm  not  a  poor  Sassenach  peasant. 

"  And  down  on  Inch  Cailleach's  green  breast 

Just  bury  me  where  the  winds  free  sough ; 
Aye,  there  I  will  lay  me  and  rest 

Till  Gabriel  blows  the  last  pibroch. 
Let  twelve  Hielan'  lads  be  picked  out, 

Each  wan  in  his  bonnet  and  feather, 
To  carry  me  steady  and  stout, 

By  fours,  taking  turns  together. 
And,  friends,  don't  old  Dougal  affront 

By  making  believe  to  deplore  me ; 
But  Hamish  shall  walk  in  the  front, 

Playing  my  own  pipes  before  me. 

"  And  aye  on  the  road  as  you  go, 

Still  halt  when  you  see  Hielan'  heather, 
And  Hamish  a  pibroch  will  plow, 
To  bring  the  Macgregors  together. 

2  F 


434        THE   GLASGOW   POETS 

Then  five  or  six  ferry  goot  men, 

Without  any  teetotal  rigour, 
Will  hand  the  dram  round  now  and  then, 

And  drink  to  the  last  Red  Macgregor. 
That's  all.     My  old  pipes  give  me  down, 

I'd  feel  them  wanst  more  on  my  shoulder ; 
I  would  hear  the  old  chanter's  sweet  soun' 

Before  my  old  fingers  grow  colder." 

And  there,  just  before  effery  eye, 

He  tuned  the  old  pipes  in  their  places, 
Gazed  fondly,  and  gave  one  long  sigh, 

And  stroked  all  their  ribbons  and  graces. 
And  then,  as  his  time  was  near  spent, 

He  into  the  bag  began  plowing, 
And  played  the  Clan  Alpine  Lament — 

'Twas  just  on  the  eve  of  his  going  ; 
Then  stopped,  and  just  laid  back  his  head, 

His  fingers  relaxing  their  vigour, 
So  passed  through  the  mists  of  the  dead, 
The  ferry  last  wild  Red  Macgregor. 
And  Dougal  lay  dead,  och  aree  ! 

His  chanter  now  silenced  for  effer ; 
The  last  Red  Macgregor  wass  he, 
A  ferry  goot  job  whateffer. 


INDEX   OF    POETS 


Aird,  Marion  Paul 

Bailey,  Philip  James      . 
Baillie,  Joanna 
Bell,  Henry  Glassford    . 
Blackie,  John  Stuart 
Black,  William      . 
Boyd,  Zachary 
Breckenridge,  John 
Brydson,  Thomas  . 
Buchanan,  Robert 

Cameron,  William 
Campbell,  Thomas 
Carrick,  John  Donald    . 
Couper,  Robert     . 
Crawfurd,  Andrew 
Crawford,  James  P. 
Cross,  William      . 

Dunlop,  John 
Elliott,  Thomas     . 

Falconer,  Alexander 
Finlay,  John 

Gilkison,  John 
Glen,  William 
Graham,  Dougal    . 
Grahame,  James    . 
Grant,  Mrs.,  of  Laggan 
Gray,  David. 

Hamilton,  Janet  . 
Hedderwick,  James 
Hume,  Alexander . 

Jacque,  George 


PAGE 

PAGE 

322 

Little,  James 

•     349 

Lochore,  Robert    . 

.     108 

326 
An 

Lockhart,  John  Gibson  . 
Lyle,  Thomas 

.     214 
.     209 

j? 

297 

Macdonald,  Hugh 

•     333 

404 

Macfarlan,  James  . 

•     377 

9 

Macleod,  Norman 

•     3°9 

203 
290 

Mayne,  John 
Miller,  William     . 

.      64 
.     301 

409 

Moore,  Dugald 

.     276 

Motherwell,  William      . 

•     233 

260 

Murdoch,  Alexander  G. 

.    422 

141 
190 

Nichol,  John 
Nicholson,  James  . 

•     390 
•     354 

187 

Norval,  James 

.     318 

36i 
263 

Outram,  George    . 

.     270 

Park,  Andrew 

.     292 

60 

Pollok,  Robert      . 

,    253 

345 

Rae-Brown,  Colin 

351 

Rankine,  W.  J.  M. 

341 

394 

Reid,  William 

.     116 

168 

Rodger,  Alexander 

.     172 

Smith,  Alexander  . 

.     369 

43° 

Smollett,  Tobias   . 

.       26 

193 

3Q 

Spens,  Walter  C.  . 

.     418 

8 
125 

Stirling-  Maxwell,  SirW., 
Stoddart,  James  H. 

Bart.  337 

398 

Struthers,  John 

.     132 

Walker,  Robert     . 

.     427 

224 

Watson,  Walter     . 

.     164 

313 

Wilson,  John 

.     181 

305 

Wingate,  David     . 

•     364 

267      Young,  John 


358 


INDEX   OF    POEMS 


A  Ballad  of  Memorie 
Adam  o'  Fintry 
A  Glance  Ayont  the  Grave     . 
All  lovely  and  bright 
A  song  of  the  country    . 
A  Young  Kintra  Laird's  Court- 
ship   

Behave  yoursel'  before  folk     . 
Bernardo  and  Alphonso 
Bothwell  Castle     . 
By  the  Sea-side 

Captain  Paton's  Lament 
Cauld  Kail  in  Aberdeen 
Chinese  Gordon     . 
Clyde  Boat-Song  . 
Conscience    .... 
Could  I  find  a  bonnie  glen 
Crillon  the  Brave  . 

Dance,  my  children 

Dinna  ask  me        ... 

Dunoon         . 

Effie— a  Ballad      . 
Eylomel         . 

Fair  modest  flower 
Far,  far  away 
Festus,  Scene  from 

Glasgow  (John  Mayne's) 
Glasgow  (Alexander  Smith's) 
Good-night,  Good-night 

Hail,  holy  love 

Hark,  how  Heaven  is  calling 

His  Epitaph . 

Hohenlinden 

Hurrah  for  the  Highlands 


PAGE 

PAGE 

226 

If  it  must  be  . 

400 

407 
I89 

Imph-m         .... 
In  Memory  of  H.  A.  S.    . 

356 

340 

290 

In  the  Chamber  of  Death 

419 

298 

Isabella          .... 

170 

It  fell  on  a  morning 

95 

Jeanie  Morrison     . 

336 

176 

John  Anderson,  my  jo   . 

120 

221 

John  Frost     .... 

3°3 

260 

John  Highlandman's  remarks 

315 

on  Glasgow 

42 

216 

Joseph  Tempted    . 

12 

118 

Kate  o'  Gowrie 

121 

300 
346 

Kelvingrove  .... 

211 

188 

ee 

Lady  Frances  Stewart    . 

62 

428 

Leave  me  not 

56 

Lines  to  Agnes  Baillie   . 

103 

3IO 
62 

Lochiel's  Warning 
Logan  Braes 

212 

Lord  Ullin's  Daughter  . 

161 

229 

Mare  Mediterraneum     . 

392 

406 

Marriage  and  the  care  o't 

112 

Mary  Queen  of  Scots 

283 

119 

My  ain  dear  Nell  . 

307 

323 

My  first  breeks 

359 

327 

My  heid  is  like  to  rend,  Willie 

244 

My  Little  Wife      . 

366 

73 

372 

O  come  with  me    . 

1  68 

93 

Ode  to  Leven  Water 

31 

Ode  to  Independence     . 

32 

255 

Old  Time      .... 

353 

268 

On  a  sprig  of  heath 

57 

403 

O  where,  tell  me  where 

53 

146 

296 

Poverty  parts  good  company  . 

97 

INDEX 


437 


Red  gleams  the  sun 

Red  red  is  the  path 

Rizpah 

Robin  Tamson's  Smiddy 

Sae  will  we  yet 

Saw  ye  Johnnie  comin'  . 

Scotia's  shore 

Secrets 

Silent  Love  . 

Sweet  lovely  Jean 


48 

48 

338 

174 

165 
94 
349 
352 
293 
119 


Tarn  o'  the  Lin  .  .  .  101 
The  Annuity  .  .  .271 
The  Answer.  .  .  .178 
The  Auld  Kirkyard  .  .  324 
The  Ballad  of  Judas  Iscariot  .  412 
The  Battle  of  the  Baltic  .  154 
The  Blacksmith's  Daughter  .  388 
The  Bonnie  Wee  Well  .  .  335 
The  Burns  Monument  .  .  423 
The  Cavalier's  Song  .  .  240 
The  Conception  .  .  .401 
The  Dainty  Bit  Plan  .  .  264 
The  Drunkard's  Raggit  Wean  362 
The  Engine-driver  .  .  343 
The  Evening  Cloud  .  .183 
The  Exile  of  Erin  .  .  147 
The  Fatal  Shaft  ...  37 
The  Gowan  Lea  .  .  .  262 
The  Grampians  ...  59 
The  Harp  and  the  Haggis  .  192 
The  Highland  Maid  .  .  200 
The  Humours  o'  Gleska  Fair  204 
The  Last  Man  .  .  .157 
The  Lament  of  Dougal  Mac- 

gregor  .  .  .  .  431 
The  Lea-rig  .  .  .  .123 
The  Lords  of  Labour  .  .  382 
The  March  Win'  .  .  .319 


The  Merle,  .  .  ,  .129 
The  Mermaiden  .  .  .  247 
The  Ruined  City  .  .  .  384 
The  Sabbath  .  .  .127 
The  Scottish  Emigrant's 

Farewell  ....  306 
The  Sheiling  ...  49 
The  Siller  Gun  ...  66 
The  Sleepy  Laddie  .  .  304 
The  Soldier's  Dream  .  .160 
The  Solemn  Song  of  a  Right- 
eous Heart  .  .  .  241 
The  Song  of  Harald  .  .  248 
The  Tears  of  Scotland  .  .  29 
The  Turnimspike  ...  40 
The  Watcher  .  .  .383 
The  Widow  .  .  .  .166 
The  Winter  Day  .  .  .134 
The  Winter  sat  lang  .  .  87 
The  Year  that's  awa'  .  .  61 
To  a  wild  deer  .  .  .184 

To  Lily  F ...     406 

To  the  Evening  Star      .         .     161 
To  the  Memory  of  John  Gra- 
ham of  Claverhouse    .         .201 
To  the  Rev.  James  Bell          .     no 
To  the  Vitrified  Fort  in  Glen 

Nevis         ....     278 
Trust  in  God          .         .         .311 


Up  with  the  dawn 


347 


Wae's  me  for  Prince  Charlie  .     198 
Wedded  Love        .         °        .396 

Why? 400 

Willie  Winkie        .         .         .302 
Wooed  and  married  and  a'     .       99 


Ye  Mariners  of  England 


149